Autonomous on-board data processing for SO/PHI

Advances in the autonomous on-board data processing system for SO/PHI instrument to overcome the very low amount of telemetry available for Solar Orbiter

October 23, 2018

By Kinga Albert

One of the major challenges in the operation of SO/PHI (PHI homepage) is the very low amount of telemetry available in orbit. To overcome this challenge we implemented a complex, autonomous on-board data processing system for instrument calibrations and science data processing. This system is distributed between software and hardware, integrating two Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA-s), reconfigured in flight, to accelerate image processing operations. The software framework of the system implements a flexible environment, possible to use for numerous applications, coping with the resource limitations in space. The software framework was presented at the SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation 2018, from which the proceedings are referenced as: K. Albert, J. Hirzberger, D. Busse, T. Lange, M. Kolleck, B. Fiethe, D. Orozco Suárez, J. Woch, J. Schou, J. Blanco Rodriguez, A. Gandorfer, Y. Guan, J. P. Cobos Carrascosa, D. Hernández Expósito, J. C. del Toro Iniesta, S. K. Solanki, H. Michalik, "Autonomous on-board data processing and instrument calibration software for the SO/PHI," Proc. SPIE 10707, Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy V, 107070O (6 July 2018)

The software framework calls dedicated functions for image processing, verifies image parameters to aid autonomous processing, records metadata, i.e. everything that has to be known about the processing of the images for using them as scientific data, and gives a flexibility in the amount of images processed at the same time, to cope with different memory resources.
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