Datalight & Airbus Stream Video from Space Station

BOTHELL, Wash., – October 26, 2015 –  Airbus Defence and Space, Europe’s leading defense and space company, has selected Datalight products for use in civil spaceflight equipment.

The Challenge

‘The project ”Columbus Solid State Disk Video Recorder”(COL-SSD) replaces the old video tape recorders on Columbus, the European science laboratory module that is part of the International Space Station (ISS). The system is intended for recording High Definition and Standard Definition video, but it is also capable of storing high-rata data bit streams from scientific payloads prior to being transmitted on a downlink to a ground station.’

In the center of the COL-SSD a 32-bit SPARC processor controls an array of 128 Giga Byte raw NAND-flash memory through which (video) data is being streamed in real time. The memory is key to the flawless operation of the recorder over its expected lifetime use in ISS. In order to maximize NAND-flash lifetime, the data needs to be spread evenly across all memory cells. Since raw NAND-flash relies on a flash media driver to take care of this as well of performing bad-block management, it puts a load on the CPU. Since the data potentially needs to be stored

on the SSD, a reliable file system is an additional requirement but one that also steals cycles from the CPU and can cause to system to enter an undefined state after a sudden power loss.

The Logic Solution with Datalight products

‘As we discussed our needs and requirements with Logic Technology, they suggested the Datalight FlashFX Tera flash media driver software in combination with their Reliance Nitro high performance file system. These solutions fit seamlessly into the VxWorks operating system. Further it supported the necessary storage size and the requirements with respect to reliability – especially the requirements regarding file system integrity under all circumstances, even if power fails during write operation. The software was configurable to be tailored to the needs of the COL-SSD’s very special hardware architecture.’

The Customer Payoff

‘The solution fulfilled the expectations. Extensive testing (as it is usual for spaceflight equipment) proved that all requirements have been met or exceeded. Especially the all-time file system integrity was impressive’.
‘ISS experiments scientific video and data are of very high value, as many experiments can be carried out only once due to limited number of samples or crew time (the samples have to be uploaded by space vehicles which are quite limited). Thus, under any circumstances the scientific data must not get lost or corrupted. A reliable data recorder is therefore a crucial ingredient of any data management system. The solution products have been very beneficial in achieving these challenging requirements. The product behaved as required. The close cooperation between our local development team, the Datalight support team and Logic Technology during the entire project was another factor that contributed to our joined success.


About Datalight

Datalight, Inc. headquartered just north of Seattle, Wash., develops technologies to reliably manage critical data in embedded devices. Datalight file system and device driver software ensures reliability, performance and long product life and is used worldwide on over 300 million of today’s most well-known devices. For more information, visit or call 800.221.6630.