The Fraunhofer On-Board Processor (FOBP) is a powerful and flexible programmable communication payload for satellite-based, digital signal processing applications. The FOBP consists of radiation-hardened, latest-generation field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) suitable for space applications. These FPGAs make it possible to fully reconfigure the FOBP from the earth station. That means the processor can be adapted to new communication standards and to changing environmental conditions while in orbit any time. To date, communication satellites operate almost exclusively with transparent transponders that receive the signals from the earth station, amplify them and transmit them back. The FOBP can process the received signals in addition, before returning them to ground stations or forwarding them on to other satellites (regenerative payload).
The FOBP will be launched in 2020 as part of the Heinrich Hertz satellite mission coordinated by the DLR (German Aerospace Center) Space Administration and supported by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology with participation of the Federal Ministry of Defence on the basis of a decision by the German Bundestag.