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Continual evolution for our Advanced Data and Power Management System (ADPMS) 3rd Generation

Ruben Willems – Electronics Systems Engineer

Using innovation to deliver the very best operational outcomes for customers lies at the very core of our business. One area where this has been clearly demonstrated is with the development of an Advanced Data and Power Management System (ADPMS3) for small satellites.


Our ADPMS3 system includes three products: an on-board computer (OBC), a power control and distribution unit (PCDU), and a remote terminal unit (RTU). In this blog though, I am going to talk about our OBC.

Our first ADPMS OBC was originally developed for the European Space Agency’s (ESA) PROBA 2 satellite and it has worked perfectly since the launch of the satellite eleven years ago. The second generation of the system was also used on the PROBA-V, as well as other missions, and has been modified to meet the specific power and production demands for the two spacecraft of ESA’s pioneering PROBA-3 mission that will see two satellites flying in precision formation together for the very first time.

We’re now building on the system’s proven resilience, agility and operational performance with the introduction of the latest evolution of our redundant on-board computer – included in the ADPMS3 product gamma. As has been the case with its predecessor, this new system balances the same need for cost-effectiveness and simplicity with even greater functionality to provide a dedicated, highly versatile and modular platform controller for the new generation of satellites, space vehicles and space robotics technologies.

The development of ADPMS3 is now at a Qualification Model level. Our objective has been to improve reliability, performance and flexibility in a more compact form without compromising the benefits of using plug and play architecture to integrate an easily configurable and adaptable mix of units. We’re well along the road – or should that be flight trajectory!? - to achieving this goal.

The system can be used as a non-, cool- and hot-redundant platform controller. At its heart is a dual core processor that runs at 80Mhz (delivering 112.7DMIPS in single core operation and 171 DMIPS in dual core operation) in conjunction with a large scale, reconfigurable field-programmable gate array (FPGA). Great care has been taken to provide a comprehensive range of dedicated interfaces, including ECSS (European Cooperation for Space Standardisation) compliant spacecraft platform communication interfaces – and to ensure all components meet low Earth orbit, geostationary orbit and deep-space requirements.

This commitment to quality, reliability and versatility is helping to maximise the system’s functionality and capabilities and, subsequently, its application potential. We have no doubt that our ADPMS3 products will continue the successful track record of their predecessors and make a significant and measurable difference to an ever-growing number of future space missions.