With the growing trend towards “Operationally Responsive Space”, demand is increasing for more flexible spacecraft that can be assembled to meet a specific mission requirement and launched quickly. The SpW-RT project is responding to this demand, paving the way for enhanced cooperation between the EU and Russia in this exciting technology field.

The success of future space missions is linked closely to our ability to design spacecraft that are both flexible and able to be assembled rapidly to meet specific customer demands. Flexibility in this respect is a synonym for the ability to build spacecraft that can be adapted from one mission to another, in order to respond to mission specific needs. Rapid assembly implies fast integration of pre-build components that can be configured to meet a wide range of space mission requirements.

Striving to achieve more, rapidly and at lower cost, spacecraft designers see a need for enhancing the degree of joint technology standards between space faring nations.

The SpW-RT project is set to promote such interoperability between EU and Russian space technologies. The project aims to provide a flexible, robust, responsive, deterministic and durable standard network technology for spacecraft avionics, i.e. spacecraft onboard data-handling and control electronics.

SpW-RT will improve the existing SpaceWire protocol in a number of ways, such as adding a quality of service layer. Such developments may pave the way for a new EU-Russia standard in spacecraft plug-and-play network technologies, thereby creating a strong technical platform for further joint advances at the payloads and avionics level.