Prof. Dr.-Ing. Harald Michalik

Technische Universität Braunschweig
Institute of Computer and Network Engineering (IDA)
Hans-Sommer-Straße 66
D-38106 Braunschweig
Phone: +49 531 391 3733

Researcher’s Career

  • Professor at Institute of Computer and Network Engineering (IDA), TU Braunschweig
  • Head of Spaceborne Computers Group
  • Professor at Hochschule Bremen, University of Applied Sciences
  • Project Manager and Department Head
  • Research Associate, TU Braunschweig
  • Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, TU Braunschweig
  • Studies in Electrical Engineering, TU Braunschweig

Mission Statement

The Spaceborne Computers group within IDA focusses in research and development on spaceborne computing platforms including in-orbit reconfigurable HW and SW systems, i.e. advanced embedded computing for space applications. The group has developed and delivered a multitude of computing systems (Data Processors and Mass Storage elements) for various space Missions (e.g. Rosetta, Venus Express, Dawn, Rosetta, ExoMars, TerraSAR). The research includes characterization of commercial EEE devices for particle irradiation environment in space.


ESA’s Solar Orbiter with PHI DPU, credits: ESA

Project A: Reconfigurable data processing unit (DPU) for the PHI instrument on ESA´s Solar Orbiter Mission. The Polarimetric and Helioseismic Image (PHI) instrument is part of the scientific payload for ESA’s Solar Orbiter mission to be launched in 2020. PHI is a camera instrument providing maps of the continuum intensity, the Line-of-Sight velocity and the magnetic field vector of the solar photosphere. The camera produces a large amount of raw data per data set (~ 3 Gbit at a peak data rate of 590 Mbit/s). Because these data sets cannot be directly transferred to ground, the instrument will use the advantages of SRAM-based FPGAs to implement complex data reduction algorithms and operate in dynamically a time-space partitioning, shared manner. This will be the first time that dynamic HW reconfiguration will be used on a European space mission.

Project B: To handle the data onboard a spacecraft, e.g. for storage before processing onboard or for downlink, high capacity mass data storage units (up to GBytes) providing high access rates (up to multiple 10Gbit/s) are needed. Currently, only commercial semiconductor devices bases storages are feasible. The challenge is to establish failure tolerant solutions under the conditions of space radiation environment. IDA is developing modules and and system architectures for spaceborne mass storages, currently based on NAND Flash or DDR-SDRAM devices. These data storage solutions are used in many spacecraft or instrument applications.

ESA’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, credits: ESA
CCC-Project C1 space application, credits: DFG research group CCC

Project C: The DFG funded research group CCC (FOR1800) aims at developing methods and architectures for embedded system platforms, which enable concurrent changes under high requirements to real-time, safety, availability, and security. A main focus of CCC is the autonomous integration (“right hand” V-Model branch) with the functions development assumed to remain in the lab environment. Two areas of application were chosen, automotive and space. The project C1 within CCC aims to demonstrate and evaluate the usability and capabilities of the CCC approach under the safety, reliability and availability requirements of a typical space application. This includes maximizing the use of resource limited HW/SW platforms in a multi-functional and adaptable manner, e.g. by using dynamic HW and SW reconfiguration in a Time-Space Partitioning manner.

Selected Publications

  • A. Dörflinger, M. Albers, B. Fiethe, and H. Michalik: Hardware Acceleration in Genode OS Using Dynamic Partial Reconfiguration, Architecture of Computing Systems – ARCS, 2018.
  • T. Lange, B. Fiethe, H. Michel, H. Michalik, K. Albert, and J. Hirzberger: On-board processing using reconfigurable hardware on the solar orbiter PHI instrument, NASA/ESA Conference on Adaptive Hardware and Systems (AHS), pp. 186-191, July 2017.
  • D. Delcourt, Y. Saito, F. Leblanc, C. Verdeil, S. Yokota, M. Fraenz, H. Fischer, B. Fiethe, B. Katra, D. Fontaine, J.‐M. Illiano, J.‐J. Berthelier, N. Krupp, U. Buhrke, F. Bubenhagen, and H. Michalik: The Mass Spectrum Analyzer (MSA) on board the BepiColombo MMO, Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 2016.
  • V. Della Corte, N. Schmitz, M. Zusi, J. M. Castro, M. Leese, S. Debei, D. Magrin, H. Michalik, P. Palumbo, R. Jaumann, G. Cremonese et al.: The JANUS camera onboard JUICE mission for Jupiter system optical imaging, SPIE Remote Sensing, 2015.
  • L. Li, G. Zhou, B. Fiethe, H. Michalik, and B. Osterloh: Efficient implementation of the CCSDS 122.0-B-1 compression standard on a space-qualified field programmable gate array, Journal of Applied Remote Sensing, 2013.