BAE Systems unveils software-defined radio assembly for space missions

10 April 2019 (Last Updated April 10th, 2019 10:38)

BAE Systems has launched a general software-defined radio (SDR) assembly to offer flexibility, on-orbit reprogramming and signals processing for commercial and US Department of Defense space applications.

BAE Systems unveils software-defined radio assembly for space missions
The SDR’s SpaceVPX architecture can accommodate an alternate transceiver or design improvement while retaining the integrity of the assembly. Credit: BAE Systems.

BAE Systems has launched a general software-defined radio (SDR) assembly to offer flexibility, on-orbit reprogramming and signals processing for commercial and US Department of Defense space applications.

The SDR system combines BAE Systems’ RAD5545 Single Board Computer (SBC) with advanced field programmable gate array-based transceivers.

The technology will enable customers to reprogramme missions. The firm will develop and manufacture the SDR assembly at its US facilities in Manassas, Virginia, and Merrimack, New Hampshire.

BAE Systems Space Systems director Ricardo Gonzalez said: “The flexibility allowed by the general-purpose software defined radio for customers to reprogramme missions makes this hardware a product our customers will be able to use into the future.

“The architecture includes the SpaceVPX RAD5545 computer and has the ability to host third-party hardware and mission intellectual property or algorithms.”

“Coupled with our RAD5545 technology, the processing power and capability enables our customers to apply their spacecraft to multiple missions that evolve over its lifespan.”

The SDR features an upgradeable SpaceVPX architecture that allows for design improvement or to fit an alternate transceiver.

The architecture includes the SpaceVPX RAD5545 computer and has the ability to host third-party hardware and mission intellectual property or algorithms.

BAE Systems’ SDR features multiple receiver and transmission channels to support different applications such as weather sensing, flexible communications payload, or specialised radiofrequency sensing.

The company noted that RAD5545 SBC is designed to deliver significant improvements in processing throughput and bandwidth. The US Air Force Small Business Innovation Research / Small Business Technology Transfer Program office is seeking proposals to develop a militarised version of direct RF conversion SDRs using open source methods.

The project requires the militarised SDRs to be able to function in challenging and pre, trans and post-nuclear event disturbed environments.