spacePTS: EGSE SW Front-End for Integration, Verification & Validation activities


EGSE SW Front-End for Integration, Verification & Validation activities of a satellite payload, off-the-shelf SW solution

Technology abstract

An Italian SME developed an off-the-shelf software solution for Electrical Ground support equipment (EGSE) providing full front-end functionalities (TeleMetry / TeleCommand, power and custom analogical links) for Integration, Verification & Validation activities of satellite components.

Technology Description

The software solution herein proposed provides full front-end functionalities (TeleMetry / TeleCommand, power and custom analogical links) for Integration, Verification & Validation activities of Electrical Ground Support Equipment (EGSE) software. EGSE is the support equipment used to provide background services and operational support to various satellites and vehicles. The functions that this equipment provides generally involve telecommunications, remote control or diagnostics, aircraft situational awareness, and mission operations (both control of cargo or payload). Thus the spacePTS technology could be also used in sectors, such as Transport, to integrate, verify & validate the related EGSE SW. spacePTS is an off-the-shelf SW solution providing front-end functionalities on top of a commercial HW platform (generically a work station with specific spW (signal processing Workstation), CAN bus and Analogical/Digital interfaces). spacePTS implements the business logic of the EGSE, manages the HW interfaces towards the Equipment Under Test (EUT) and the services for the check-out systems (either locally or remote over LAN). It allows for integration into a generic (and wider) Central Check-out System (CCS) providing remote control of the TeleMetry / TeleCommand front-end, with a client-server approach, via well assessed protocols as EDEN and C&C (over the Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol (TCP/ IP) network). Furthermore, spacePTS provides simulation capabilities of external sensors and systems: specific behaviour can be implemented customizing standard templates integrated as plug-ins in the overall system. spacePTS core module is the SW layer acting as a server providing network services to Central Check-out Systems (which will in turn be on the client side of the TCP/IP communication link). spacePTS, indeed, is based on a modular architecture: • the Front End Controller implements all the interfaces with the EUT, simulating electrical (power, signals) and logical (Packet Utilisation Standard and custom data packets) communications; • the Data Handler provides monitor and control functionalities; • the Man Machine Interface (MMI) provides graphic and command interfaces. The Data Handler also provides services to the MMI which acts as a local or a remote controller. In this last case it makes possible, for the Central Check-out System, to control the system remotely from the same Graphical User Interface with the EDEN or C&C protocols. These protocols allow exchanging TC and TM packets between the different EGSE sub-systems (the CCS and SCOEs), transmitting CCSDS PUS packets over the EGSE LAN (using a service based on TCP / IP sockets). Furthermore, all the events are logged and saved into a local Data Base in order to allow off-line analyses on the test sessions and their «replay».

Innovations & Advantages

SpacePTS integrates structured scripting languages, with a rich syntax, interpreted by plug-in modules, thus providing means to execute complex test procedures, exposing appropriate interfaces to:
• HW resources
• TC specific formatting functions
• TM de-formatting functions
• HK parameters check and monitoring
• Internal TM/TC events database
Furthermore, supported interpreters are Python and Tcl/Tk (Tool command Language/Tk). External libraries (e.g. python numpy, scipy, matplotlib, etc.) provide advanced data processing and visualization functionalities, allowing the “on-line” definition of specific monitoring windows and scientific packets quick look analysis.

Further Information

The system herein proposed allows different functionalities both space and non- space oriented :
• TM/TC front end (CCSDS PUS packets on spW interfaces)
• Spacecraft’s power bus (28V) and analogical lines
• Spacecraft’s sub-systems and instruments simulation
• Packet Utilization Standard communications based on mission DB (SCOS 2000 format)
• Test Procedure environment preparation and execution
• Test scripting language (Python and Tcl/TK)
• Data visualization and scientific packets quick look analysis
• Plug-in based architecture
• Local and remote control capabilities
• Test session logs analysis and «replay»
• Multi-monitor
Furthermore, the system is compliant with a series of scripting techniques allowing the possibility to adapt its current functionalities towards specific requirements, also non-space oriented:
• C&C
• Python scripting
• Tcl/Tk scripting

Current and Potential Domains of Application

The technology is currently used for the Integration, Verification & Validation activities of satellite payloads. Providing electrical simulation (power, signals) and logical communication (PUS and custom data packets) capabilities, supporting different interpreters and scripting techniques, and providing monitor and control functionalities. This technology could be applied to fulfil external sensor and systems simulation requirements together with the capability to analyse, manage and store test outputs. This last functionality allows off-line analyses on the test sessions and their «replay». An example could be the test, verification and validation of complex unmanned vehicles (both maritime and aerial) systems for security and monitoring/maintenance applications (e.g. monitoring of submarine big power cables). spacePTS could also provide service in the phase of integrated logistic support of complex carrier systems (also unmanned).