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ISS Flight Op - Space Flight Demonstration of a Radiation Tolerant, FPGA-based Computer System on the International Space Station Montana State University – Bozeman/NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Glenn Research Center, Human Exploration & Operations and Space Technology Mission Directorates

Dr. Brock J. LaMeres, Science PI, Associate Professor, Montana State University

The radiation tolerant computer system developed by Montana State University is ideal for science data processing aboard small satellites due to its low cost, low power consumption, and increased processing capability.

A demonstration on the International Space Station is the next step in the technology maturation of a radiation tolerant computer system that was invented at Montana State University. The new computer system promises to deliver increased reliability and performance at a fraction of the cost of existing rad-hard space computers. The computer was developed through NASA EPSCoR funding and uses off-the-shelf Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) to dynamically detect and repair faults caused by ionizing radiation. The FPGA contains a many-tile architecture that allows redundant versions of the computer system to run in parallel in addition to spare processors that can be brought online in the event of a failure. The system also contains a spatial radiation sensor to provide information about radiation strikes that may have occurred but have not yet caused a computer failure. This technology has been demonstrated under radiation bombardment in a cyclotron, numerous high altitude balloon flights, and on a sounding rocket mission. Through funding from the NASA EPSCoR ISS Flight Opportunity program, the MSU computer will be demonstrated on a six month mission in Low Earth Orbit to stress the system in its harshest environment yet.

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NASA EPSCoR Stimuli 2014 -15

Steve Huning, NASA ISS RIM, Johnson Space Center

Montana State University students work in the nano fabrication lab.

EPSCoR Stimuli 2014-15  

NASA Office of Education’s Aerospace Research & Career Development (ARCD) is pleased to release NASA EPSCoR Stimuli, a collection of univers...

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