Cobham Processor Technology Powers Commercial NanoSatellite

Cobham's LEON3FT processor technology is used on the VESTA-1 nanosatellite developed and operated by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL).

April 14, 2019, GothenbUrg, Sweden – Cobham announced today that its LEON3FT processor technology is used on the VESTA-1 nanosatellite developed and operated by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL). SSTL, a UK based company specialising in agile space platforms, has recently confirmed the successful commissioning and operation of VESTA-1, a 3U nanosatellite technology demonstration mission that will test a new two-way VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) payload developed by Honeywell for the ExactEARTH advanced maritime satellite constellation. The satellite was launched into a 575 km sun-synchronous orbit as part of Spaceflight’s SSO-A SmallSat Express Mission atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base on December 3, 2018. 

“Cobham congratulates the SSTL team for successfully launching and commissioning the VESTA-1 spacecraft. We are very proud that the fault-tolerant LEON3FT processor technology is used in the flexible nanosatellite satellite platform, bringing reliability and extensive flight heritage from traditional space mission to this new breed of miniaturized spacecraft”, said Sandi Habinc, General Manager, Cobham Gaisler. "Our processor Intellectual Property core is the key element in the single-event upset (SEU) tolerant on-board computer of the VESTA-1 spacecraft. Also our LEON/SPARC software port is deployed with the VxWorks operating system as part of the flight software. Our processor offering thus covers both the hardware and the software, allowing our users to focus on their application development.” 

“The LEON3FT processor was selected for the VESTA-1 nanosatellite On-Board Computer (OBC) and SGR-Ligo GNSS receiver as it met the requirements for a low power, FPGA embedded SEU tolerant processing platform. Naturally for nanosatellite applications, power consumption and board area are important criteria. Embedding the LEON3FT processor with custom Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS), platform Controller Area Network (CAN) controller and IP communications protocol logic, et al, into a single flash-based FPGA resulted in a high reliability COTS nanosatellite OBC that consumes less than 1 Watt”, said David Cooke, Principal Engineer, SSTL. “With a bespoke Board Support Package (BSP) for the nanosatellite OBC, we were able to re-deploy our heritage OBC flight software onto the LEON3FT platform in a very short timeframe. The result is an SEU tolerant, low power nanosatellite OBC running SSTL proven CONOPS software.” 

The development of VESTA was co-funded by the UK Space Agency through its National Space Technology Programme (NSTP) which stimulates the growth and development of the UK space sector through investing in technology development. The project was led by Honeywell. 

For more information about Cobham’s processor and software products, please visit  www.cobham.com/Gaisler.

About Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL)

Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) is the world's leading small satellite company, delivering operational space missions for a range of applications including Earth observation, science, communications, navigation, in-orbit debris removal and servicing and beyond Earth infrastructure. SSTL designs, manufactures and operates high performance satellites and ground systems for a fraction of the price normally associated with space missions, and employs 450 staff working on turnkey satellite platforms, space-proven satellite avionics, optical instruments and mission concepts. 

Since 1981, SSTL has built and launched more than 60 satellites for 20 international customers, as well as providing training and development programmes, consultancy services, and mission studies for ESA, NASA, international governments and commercial customers.  Our innovative approach is changing the economics of space. 

Headquartered in Guildford, UK, SSTL is part of Airbus.  www.sstl.co.uk 

About Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions (CAES)

CAES provides critical solutions for communication on land, at sea, and in the air and space, by moving data through off-the-shelf and customized products and subsystems including RF, microwave, and high reliability microelectronics, antenna apertures and motion control solutions. 

Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions supplies defence, aerospace, security, medical, and industrial markets. Cobham Gaisler is a part of CAES.  

About Cobham

Cobham offers an innovative range of technologies and services to solve challenging problems in commercial, defence and security markets, from deep space to the depths of the ocean. 

We employ around 10,000 people primarily in the USA, UK, Europe and Australia, and have customers and partners in over 100 countries, with market leading positions in: wireless, audio, video and data communications, including satellite communications; defence electronics; air-to-air refuelling; aviation services; life support and mission equipment.



Contact:

Victor Leviste
Senior Director, Business Development Operations
Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions
+1 (571) 455-9200
Email Contact




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