Benefits of the SpaceWire Internet Tunnel

Stuart Mills, Steve Parkes, Raffaele Vitulli

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contribution


    The Space Wire Internet Tunnel is a tool developed by the University of Dundee to allow the components of a spacecraft utilising SpaceWire as an onboard network to be integrated virtually. This concept is known as "virtual spacecraft integration" and involves connecting the components remotely using a network such as the Internet. This provides a number of obvious benefits such as reduced travel and the possibility to perform integration testing at an earlier stage of development. A pilot study was conducted by ESA to further investigate these benefits. This involved a number of consortia spread across Europe connecting their equipment virtually and performing experiments. This paper describes the SpaceWire Internet Tunnel in detail, reporting some of the technical hurdles which were overcome to achieve virtual spacecraft integration. Some of the benefits and limitations of the system identified by both the University of Dundee and those involved in the pilot study are described, with the reasons for any limitations explained. Suggested improvements are also discussed. The paper concludes by considering the potential applications of virtual spacecraft integration and the SpaceWire Internet Tunnel based on the feedback of those involved in the pilot study and the experiences of the University of Dundee.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationInternational Astronautical Federation - 59th International Astronautical Congress 2008, IAC 2008
    Number of pages7
    Publication statusPublished - 2008
    Event59th International Astronautical Congress - Glasgow, United Kingdom
    Duration: 29 Sept 20083 Oct 2008


    Conference59th International Astronautical Congress
    Abbreviated titleIAC 2008
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Internet address


    • Integration testing
    • On-board network
    • Pilot study
    • Potential applications
    • Space flight
    • Spacecraft
    • Wind tunnels


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