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New one-of-a-kind technology will fly on two NASA missions
Date:12/19/2008

GREENBELT, Md. - Engineers at the University of Idaho have developed unique new technology that will be used in upcoming NASA missions that will study the Earth and Sun-Earth connection.

Under the general guidance of a grant technical officer Pen-Shu Yeh, a senior engineer at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., the engineering team at the University of Idaho's (U-Idaho) Center for Advanced Microelectronics Biomolecular Research (CAMBR) located in Post Falls, Idaho, recently developed three advanced special purpose processors. These processors will be used in the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) and the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission (MMS) mission.

Yeh lead the creation of an advanced data compression algorithm that will increase science data return for NASA missions. "She demonstrated that the algorithm is superior to existing technology for onboard applications." said Gary Maki, Principal Investigator on the U-Idaho team. A second algorithm, a channel coder, was created by Prof. Shu Lin of University of California at Davis, for protecting data fidelity in a communication channel.

The data compression algorithm, adopted by the international Consultative Committee on Space Data Systems (CCSDS) in 2005, allows missions to precisely control compression factor, therefore the data rate from instruments. "The algorithm is more than 50 times more complicated than the previous CCSDS compression standard," says Yeh. "However, this algorithm is much more versatile, but it does pose a great challenge for implementation."

The channel coder algorithm, devised by one of the world's leading coding expert, Shu Lin, was created for high-speed space use under a set of requirements provided by another Goddard engineer, Wai Fong who also provided guidance in the technology development. The algorithm is now being considered by the CCSDS as a new standard. The channel coder provides protection to data in the form of
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Contact: Rob Gutro
Robert.J.Gutro@nasa.gov
301-286-4044
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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