OANA is devoted to the design, production and testing of a package of intellectual property cores for data analysis using hardware description language such as Very High Speed Integrated Circuits Hardware Description Language (VHDL) and to the implementation and testing of the VHDL cores on an integrated chipset based on the Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technology. The main objective is to make key advances towards the production of a technological asset based on modern FPGA technologies able to perform on-board data compression and analysis in view of nonlinear analysis and description of data variability. Other techniques like automatic detection of events and burst data mode triggering will also be tested. The device is aimed to be able to analyze and eventually provide a compressed description of the high resolution data collected on board a spacecraft that cannot be transmitted to the ground and that otherwise will be lost. The targeted technology will extract a subset of relevant parameters of much lower dimension. OANA is aligned with similar efforts at international level aiming to fully exploit high resolution data that otherwise is lost due to on-board limitations (e.g. limited telemetry, limited on-board data storage). The technology is relevant for deep space missions (like, e.g., ESA’s Juice), missions with limited telemetry resources (e.g. ESA’s Solar Orbiter) or nanosatellite missions (e.g. the European QB50) where the available resources are still very limited although the onboard miniaturized instruments reach increased time resolution. The project focuses on the methodology to extract the subset of key data descriptors from real time data and to “translate” these algorithms in VHDL. The testing with “burnt-in” FPGA device outlines the steps necessary to benefit from the full performance of the satellite instruments (scientific and/or navigation, like, e.g. magnetometers, plasma instruments). The project starts from a working version of a nonlinear data analysis package adapted for studying the space plasma variability. The starting Technology Readiness Level (TRL) is 2 (the algorithms to analyze the data are known as first principles) and the expected TRL of the final technology is 5, meaning successful tests with laboratory FPGA technology.


The main scientific objective of OANA, coherent with the strategic objectives of STAR, is to identify a new niche by top level research performed in collaboration by Romanian research entities joined together to design, build and test in relevant laboratory FPGA technology the IP cores for on-board data analysis and compression for variability of high resolution in-situ data.

The operational objectives of OANA are:

  1. Optimization of pre-existing algorithms for data analysis and adapt them to run on FPGA technology. Since they are normally designed for running on a classic (von Neumann-like) architecture, all algorithms have to go through a process of adaptation for a hardware implementation, because the computing paradigm (RC – Reconfigurable Computing) is different – TRL 3.
  2. Build a VHDL version of the Interactive Nonlinear Analysis (INA) library adapted to the on-board environment – this step will achieve a technological development from TRL 3 to TRL 4.
  3. Test on laboratory FPGA the VHDL version of INA and optimize the results – this step will achieve a technological development from TRL 4 to TRL 5.
  4. Produce a feasibility study for transition of the technology from laboratory FPGA to space qualified FPGA technology in view of building an operational chipset based on reconfigurable devices. This step will outline the activities to be carried out in the future for a further development of the technology from TRL 5 to TRL 6.

As the main space science interests of the investigators stems from the studies of plasma turbulence and complexity, the key descriptors of plasma and electromagnetic field variability to be implemented by the VHDL code are:

  1. The Periodogram, the power Spectral Density (PSD), the power spectral index (PSI) and the power spectral break (PSB).
  2. The Probability Distribution Function (PDF) of fluctuations, and the flatness parameter as an estimator of intermittency, i.e. a measure of the burstiness of data.
  3. The Structure Function (SF) analysis to investigate the topology of fluctuations at different scales.
  4. Event based analysis of discontinuities with the Local Intermittency Measure from Haar wavelet analysis.
Research supported by the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA) through the Space Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Programme.