Mobile Router Technology Investigated for Space Radiation Effects

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					Mobile Router Technology Investigated for Space Radiation Effects
The NASA Glenn Research Center is involved in defining next-generation                                       Of all electronic components, semi-
communication architectures for space exploration. These architectures are                                  conductors are the most sensitive to
examining the use of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) mobile router hardware                                 radiation. Radiation can cause both
to provide communication networking interoperability among space systems.                                   permanent and temporary damage to a
To be fully successful, COTS electronics and software require rigorous analy-                               semiconductor device. The most effective
sis and testing to determine if they can be used in extreme space environ-                                  way to determine the effects of radiation
ments. Glenn’s Satellite Networks and Architectures Branch in conjunction                                   on microelectronics is to test the devices
with Zin Technologies performed radiation susceptibility testing and analyzed                               in radiation environments. Analyses
results to determine the feasibility of COTS mobile-router hardware for space                               were completed to determine radiation
applications.                                                                                               exposure levels to various sensitive elec-
                                                                                                            tronic components of the mobile router
                                                                                                            hardware for a number of space mission
                                                                                                            scenarios (see the graphs). These ana-
                                       102                                                                  lytical levels were used when the elec-
 Integral flux particles/m2-sec-sr

                                                                                                            tronics were exposed to a proton beam at
                                       101                                                                  the cyclotron facility at Indiana University
                                                                                                            (photograph on the next page). During the
                                       100                                                                  test, failure data were used to statistically
                                                                                                            calculate the mean time between failures.
                                                                                                            With the exception of one component, the
                                      10–2                                                                  mobile router electronics demonstrated
                                                                                                            a high immunity to radiation exposure.
                                      10–3                                                                  If alternatives are found for the poorly
                                                                                                            performing component, the mobile router
                                      10–4                                                                  could prove to be a good candidate for
                                                                                                            noncritical space applications. It should
                                         102                103                   104               105     be noted that software was not verified
                                                     Linear energy transfer, LET, MeV-cm2/g                 in this research. The demands for the
                                                                                                            verification and validation of space-rated
                                       104                                                                  software systems could limit the use of
                                                                                                            many COTS products in high-reliability
                                                                              number of
                                                                                                            space applications. COTS software
 Flux, protons/m2-sec-sr-MeV/nuc

                                       102                                     element
                                                                                                            reliability requires further investigation.
                                       100                                        2
                                                                                  3                         The analysis and testing of commercial
                                                                                  4                         mobile router technology has demon-
                                                                                  5                         strated that this technology, with appro-
                                      10–4                                                                  priate component replacement, could be
                                                                                                            a strong candidate for distributing general
                                      10–6                                                                  data among space assets. This could
                                                                                                            be applied to onboard data systems for
                                      10–8                                                                  habitat and research modules in future
                                                                                                            space exploration initiatives.
                                             0   2              4           6             8        10�104
                                                               Energy, MeV/nuc
         Analytical radiation exposure for lunar orbit mission scenario—one of the space
         mission scenarios analyzed for radiation exposure levels.

NASA GLENN RESEARCH CENTER                                                                    26                      2005 RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY
                                                                                                  RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY

                                                                                   The mobile-router feasibility study was
                                                                                   funded by the NASA Electronics Parts
                                                                                   Program and the Space Communica-
                                                                                   tions Applied Systems & Technologies
                                                                                   Program of the former Space Commu-
                                                                                   nications Office.
                                                                                   Glenn contact:
                                                                                   David Andrew Carek, 216–433–8396,

                                                                                   Zin Technologies contact:
                                                                                   Alan J. Chmiel, 216–925–1291,

                                                                                   David Andrew Carek

                                                                                   Headquarters program office:
                                                                                   Office of Space Flight

                                                                                   ISS, Earth Science, Space Shuttle,
                                                                                   Exploration Systems
 Mobile router hardware test setup in front of the proton beam.

Advanced Extravehicular Activity Subsystems Tested at Desert
Research and Technology Studies Field Outing
As part of the Advanced Extravehicular Activity program, the NASA Glenn
Research Center is responsible for communications, avionics, and informatics
(CAI) subsystems for next-generation exploration spacesuits. Part of this effort
involves testing operational concepts at the Desert Research and Technology
Studies (Desert RATS) field outings. Desert RATS is a partnership of sev-
eral NASA centers and outside industry involved in developing technologies
applicable to the manned exploration of a planetary surface (the Moon and
Mars). Individual teams work throughout the year on promising new technolo-
gies, which are candidates for demonstration at the outing.

The Desert RATS field outing is an opportunity to evaluate various concept
technologies in a location selected to closely mimic characteristics of the
Moon and Mars surface. The field outing is a laboratory for learning how to
live and work during a human and robotic surface exploration mission. This
year’s exercise took place in a highly remote desert area near Meteor Crater,
Arizona. The site was chosen for its terrain, lack of vegetation, and powdery
soil. Held in September 2005, this year’s outing involved integrated communi-      Two spacesuits being tested in conjunction
cations and data systems for two spacesuited subjects as well as interaction       with the SCOUT rover.
with the NASA Johnson Space Center Science Crew Operations and Utility
Testbed (SCOUT) rover (see the photograph on the right). Approximately 120
individuals (9 from Glenn) participated at the test site.

NASA GLENN RESEARCH CENTER                                        27                         2005 RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY