Date of Award
Master of Science
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
James A. Lott, PhD
Many satellites are an integrated collection of sensors and actuators that require dedicated real-time control. For single processor systems, additional sensors require an increase in computing power and speed to provide the multi-tasking capability needed to service each sensor. Faster processors cost more and consume more power, which taxes a satellite's power resources and may lead to shorter satellite lifetimes. An alternative design approach is a distributed network of small and low power microcontrollers designed for space that handle the computing requirements of each individual sensor and actuator. The design of microdot, a four-bit microcontroller for distributed low-end computing, is presented. The design is based on previous research completed at the Space Electronics Branch, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL/VSSE) at Kirtland AFB, NM, and the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH. The Microdot has 29 instructions and a 1K x 4 instruction memory. The distributed computing architecture is based on the Philips Semiconductor I2C Serial Bus Protocol. A prototype was implemented and tested using an Altera Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA). The prototype was operable to 9.1 MHz. The design was targeted for fabrication in a radiation-hardened-by-design gate-array cell library for the TSMC 0.35 micrometer CMOS process.
DTIC Accession Number
Woodcock, Anthony R., "Microdot - A Four-Bit Microcontroller Designed for Distributed Low-End Computing in Satellites" (2002). Theses and Dissertations. 4465.