Developing and Completion of a SpaceWire Router based on a Russian-Made Field Programmable Gate Array

System analysis, control and data processing


Matafonov D. E.

Moscow Experimental Design Bureau “Mars”, 1-st Shemilovsky lane 16, building 2, Moscow, 127473, Russia



The growing popularity of small spacecraft and increasing requirements to the onboard control systems performance necessitate consideration of various variants of architectures. Classic bus solutions are approaching their performance limits due to the increasing number of connected modules, as well as introducing the risk to the system functioning in case of a line failure. Transition to a network architecture is proposed as one of the possible solutions to these problems.

The article considers the FPGA as a possible variant for the degree of integration enhancement to mass and size characteristics reduction, as well as productivity increase. Since domestic designs allow application of the Russian-produced components only, it was rather problematic to implement miscellaneous logics in FPGA, before the 5578TC094 chip appeared. Its research prototype was obtained by FSUE MEDB “Mars” in 2017.

The 5-port breadboard model of a SpaceWire router was fabricated to evaluate the functionality of this FPGA and integrated controller parameters. The built-in LVDS transceivers characteristics were measured, and the SpaceWire channel was tested at speeds of 100 Mbps and 150 Mbps. A “byte doubling” effect was discovered and eliminated at 150 Mbps, which is approaching maximum operating frequency of 160 MHz of the FPGA project. The occupied logic capacity estimation revealed that the router could be combined with the other functional parts in one chip. For example, it could be conjugated with the other interfaces or programmable processor core.

The obtained results suggest a possibility of significant productivity enhancing of the onboard control systems by increasing the rate of exchange, as well as reveal the necessity of further studies in the field of fault-tolerance in the conditions of ionizing radiation.


Field Programmable Gate Array, integration, onboard control system, network architecture, SpaceWire


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