A CAN based distributed telemetry and telecommand network for a nanosatellite
Thesis (MScEng (Electrical and Electronic Engineering))--University of Stellenbosch, 2008.
A communications protocol is designed for real time control and data handling for a Nanosatellite application. The communication protocol is based on the Controller Area Network (CAN) technology. The protocol handles different message types such as time synchronization, telecommand messages, telemetry acquisition, unsolicited telemetry messages, large file transfers and debug messages. The design of the protocol entails finding a suitable target microcontroller in which the protocol implementation is demonstrated. This requires consideration of a number of development factors such as cost, complexity, availability, reliability and operational environment (space). The AVR AT90CAN128 microcontroller was chosen as a target microcontroller as it gave most of the required factors mentioned above. The protocol implementation involves developing low level software drivers, the middleware and the application programs to demonstrate handling of each supported message. In the implementation the media access scheme and low layer communication is provided by the CAN low level kernel (physical and data link layers). The protocol performance was evaluated by measuring the software response latencies, the bus throughputs and the software efficiencies. Power consumption due to CAN communication was also measured. System reliability was tested by loading the CAN bus with extreme communication traffic and letting the system run for a long time. The observation was that messages were handled consistently.