Saab Ericsson Space participate in attempt to establish the age of Universe

Saab Ericsson Space in Gothenburg, Sweden, has delivered the first Flight Models of the Data Handling and Satellite Control Computers for the Herschel and Planck companion satellites.

“This delivery of the first flight units for Herschel and Planck marks the arrival of a new generation data handling system products based on 32-bit RISC processors and extensive use of Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC´s)”, says the project manager Peter Lindström. “This results in more compact units and higher performance”, adds Lindström.

The Herschel satellite will study formation of galaxies and stars using a far infrared sub millimeter telescope. The Planck satellite will try to establish the age of our universe, study the nature of “dark matter” and measure cosmic background radiation at microwave frequencies.

This new generation of system is also used in other spacecraft under construction like the ESA laser radar satellite Aeolus and the SPOT successor satellites Pleiades. Other candidate missions include Europe’s satellite navigation system Galileo and ESA science missions Swarm and LISA Pathfinder.
A continuous product improvement process will soon result in processors operating at 128 MHz frequency, offering 90 MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second) of processing capacity, available in due time for future missions like Bepi-Colombo.

Saab Ericsson Space deliveries to the Herschel and Planck projects are made to Alenia Spazio in Turin, Italy and involves three Command and Data Management Units, CDMU´s and three Attitude and Orbit Control Computers, ACC´s. The units are delivered with a powerful Basic Software, BSW, comprising high level communication services according to ESA PUS standard (Packet Utilization Standard) and a real time operating system. The BSW enables the customer to develop the application specific software. One unit of each type will initially be used as spares but can eventually be used in other future missions. The remaining units will be delivered before the end of the year.

The Herschel and the Planck satellites, under Alcatel Space prime contract, will be launched on the same Ariane 5 launcher in August, 2007.
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