Google+ SpaceTravelFoundation: 2013-04-07

April 12, 2013

The Sun stops the communications between Earth and the Mars rover Curiosity

The Curiosity rover begins its four week break today as the Sun moves between Mars and the Earth blocking communications between scientists and the robot.
For most of April, +NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory  engineers from NASA and academics from the University of Leicester in UK will be unable to send commands to the rover due to solar interference from the Sun.

Be back soon Curiosity, we miss you !

MUSCA SEP3: A tool to assess the sensitivity of digital electronics in radiation environments such space

Space radiation environment is known to induce functional errors in electronics.
Particles, such as, neutrons, protons, or heavy ions, are known to induce these errors in electronics devices, so called SEE (Single Event Effects). These energetic particles can be induced by solar flares, comics rays, etc...
It’s critical for industrial and space agencies to evaluate this risk.
In this context, a new methodology of prediction is proposed in order to estimate the operational error rate for integrated devices boarded in space or avionic flights.

MUSCA SEP3 is a prediction tool for Single Event Effects (SEE), adapted to advanced digital technologies. 
It uses the Monte Carlo method, along with multi-scale and multi-physics modeling to estimate the sensitivity of a digital component in a given radiation environment. 

The MUSCA SEP3 predication tool is deployed by ONERA's Space Environment department (DESP), an acknowledged expert in modeling the radiation environment, and especially Single Event Effects (SEE). 
It is designed to assess and anticipate SEE risks, and provide technical and scientific support during the design hardening phases stipulated by the technology roadmap. 
Validations based on experimental data from accelerators and actual in-flight data have clearly demonstrated the performance of the MUSCA SEP3 tool in estimating SEE sensitivity on highly advanced components. 
The basic approach of the MUSCA SEP3 tool means that it can be easily used by manufacturers during the design phase. It simulates these effects by dividing the process into four very distinct stages, giving it a degree of flexibility adapted to SEE hardening.

The calibration of component models is based on ground test data or the results of TCAD simulations.
The description of the component design is based on the extraction of layout geometries from a GDS2 type file.
Physical simulation is based on a physical modeling of the digital component's transient electrical response.
Electrical simulation is carried out by injecting previously calculated transient currents into a circuit modeled under Spice, using the Cadence platform.

MUSCA SEP3 supports assessments for the space, atmospheric and terrestrial radiation environments. It can be used on all types of digital components calling on CMAS technology:
-          SRAM memories
-          Logic circuits and gates (NAND, XOR, MUX, etc.)
-          CMOS image sensors
-          Power PC.
The tool examines SEE sensitivity from an overall, very sophisticated perspective, to help all users (manufacturers, designers, end-users, etc.) meet their specific requirements:
-          Sensitivity mapping (heavy ions, neutrons, protons)
-          Calculating SEU/MCU/SET cross sections
-          Calculating operational SER
-          Aid in hardening design
General evaluation of a library of digital components.

April 11, 2013

Space tourism by Virgin Galatic

As you know space tourism is coming real. The company Virgin Galatic is building this own spaceport to take off and bring people to the space from New Mexico, USA. The building steps of this huge project can be find on the Spaceport America blog.
(Credit: Doug Messier and Bill Gutman/Spaceport America)

As you could see, the spaceport will be ready soon. This place is called "the land of Enchantment" by Richard Branson and will be the future hub for space tourists !

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