PL uses Pentek boards for Deep Space Network

Experts at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., needed commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) digital-signal-processing (DSP) boards for their Deep Space Network operations. The Model 6227 parallel digital I/O VIM-2 and 4290 Quad TMS320C6x DSP boards from Pentek in Upper Saddle River, N.J., met their needs. Pentek`s single-board DSPs are based on the Texas Instruments TMS320C6x DSP chip.

JPL uses Pentek boards for Deep Space Network

Experts at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., needed commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) digital-signal-processing (DSP) boards for their Deep Space Network operations. The Model 6227 parallel digital I/O VIM-2 and 4290 Quad TMS320C6x DSP boards from Pentek in Upper Saddle River, N.J., met their needs. Pentek`s single-board DSPs are based on the Texas Instruments TMS320C6x DSP chip.

As part of JPL`s Network Simplification Program, engineers are updating the existing spacecraft ranging system using a small hardware design that is easy to maintain and operate, officials say.

"The old [Deep Space Network] ranging design used custom-made boards to correlate the received ranging signal against the expected pattern and accumulate the correlation result in hardware," says Scott Bryant, telecommunications engineer at JPL. "Faster DSP technology has enabled a new [Deep Space Network] ranging design using FIFOs that can handle the digital ranging signal directly."

The new design reduces the hardware parts count in the ranging system by eliminating custom correlator VME boards, Bryant says. "It also eliminates several interface boards and related hardware. Usage of COTS DSPs reduces the cost and development time of the spacecraft ranging effort," he adds.

Three VME boards have replaced a full rack of tracking and ranging equipment in the spacecraft ranging system. Among these boards are Pentek`s Model 6227 VIM module and the Model 4290. The 4290 handles the main processing, while the 6227 provides the interface to and from the 4290 synchronous FIFOs. This provides 16-bit parallel data out, and 16-bit parallel data in at rates as fast as 100 megabytes per second. Its front-panel 100-pin ribbon connector also includes a 16-bit parallel TTL control and status port.

The Pentek 6227 board uses the Velocity Interface Mezzanine (VIM) architecture, which is a new mezzanine bus that delivers high-speed data transfers suitable for a variety of processors and board formats.

The NASA Deep Space Network — or DSN — helps astronomers explore the solar system and deep-space regions by linking spacecraft with ground stations. The DSN is an international network of antennas that support interplanetary spacecraft missions and radio and radar astronomy observations. — J.M.

For more information on the Model 6227 and 4290 DSP boards contact Rodger Hosking by phone at 201-818-5900, by fax at 201-818-5904, by mail at Pentek Inc., One Park way, Upper Saddle River, N.J. 07458-2311, by e-mail at info@pentek.com, or on the World Wide Web at http:// www.pentek.com.

More in Computers