loading page

Detecting Discontinuities from in-Situ Space Measurements: Method and FPGA Implementation
  • +1
  • Costel Munteanu,
  • Dan Cristian Turicu,
  • Octavian Creț,
  • Marius Echim
Costel Munteanu
Institute of Space Science

Corresponding Author:costelm@spacescience.ro

Author Profile
Dan Cristian Turicu
Technical University of Cluj-Napoca
Author Profile
Octavian Creț
Computer Science Department, Technical University
Author Profile
Marius Echim
Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy
Author Profile


The analysis in real time of space data variability is essential for scientists and space mission controllers. Automated tools designed to extract key descriptors of variability are needed and solutions to adapt such algorithms for on-board computers are rare. This paper describes the design of an automated system for detecting directional discontinuities of a physical quantity and its implementation in Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA). The system is currently adapted for solar wind or terrestrial magnetosheath magnetic field directional discontinuities, i.e. sharp changes of the magnetic field directionality. Our detection algorithm uses analysis windows of adjustable width and averaging procedures in order to reduce the effects of random fluctuations. A sliding-window approach is designed for continuous monitoring and detection of magnetic directional discontinuities. A software implementation of the algorithm was tested using in-situ magnetic field measurements, and emphasised improvements of performance when using analysis windows of adjustable width. The FPGA implementation of the detection algorithm is built on DILIGENT Nexys 4 DDR featuring a comercial Xilinx Artix-7 device and is designed to be ported to space qualified infrastructure. The FPGA system was tested with synthetic and laboratory signals, and provides results in very good agreement with the software implementation. The FPGA system provides an efficient real-time monitoring solution using minimal computational and energy resources, and reducing the main on-board computer utilization.