Jointwave Enhances MPEG-4 Technology for Orion Spacecraft

FREMONT, Calif. -- Jointwave LLC, a leading industry supplier of the H.264 IP core for FPGA and ASIC, has enhanced the capability of the IP core's MPEG-4 (part 10) technology in order to support future human spaceflight missions.

Under contract to Lockheed Martin - the prime contractor to NASA for the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle - Jointwave customized their H.264 encoder to enable the spacecraft's video compression system to multicast mission critical video to data storage recorders, live stream for crew displays or streaming downlink to mission control.

Jointwave's H.264 encoder IP core supports a full HD 1080p video, with broadcast level-video quality on a single low-cost FPGA device. It uses a very small amount of hardware resources, runs on a frequency as low as 100Mhz and consumes significantly less power than other IP cores on the market. Because of this, it is optimal for applications running on batteries in harsh environments, with strict limitations on power consumption heat dissipation.

"We are thrilled to announce that Jointwave's encoder IP core has passed the rigorous tests and theoretical verification required for the constraints of applications for human space flight missions," said Paul Qiu, CEO of Jointwave. "We continue to be very proud to be the leader in codec efficiency, performance and vigor."

The encoder is 100 percent hard wired, with a precise bit rate control function that is built in and works without the need for any CPU or DSP intervention. Its low chip count and low latency make it a reliable solution that is ideal for real time and interactive applications.

"Jointwave really stepped up to the challenge of pushing high definition video compression technology to meet our requirements for the Orion spacecraft," said Preston Faiks, Orion senior electrical engineer for Lockheed Martin. "They delivered very quickly and effectively as soon as we identified the customized requirements of the application."

Faiks explained that the encoder will compress high-definition video from the spacecraft's cameras that will be used to view mission critical launch events and provide situational awareness for rendezvous, proximity operations and docking. This compression system is needed due to the differing data rates of the onboard systems. The data rate out of the cameras exceeds 1Gbs, while the data rate for storage runs at 20Mbs and streaming to ground can be as low as 50Kbs.

Due to its high-objective video quality, Jointwave's codec works well with pattern recognition and video analytics technologies, and its highly efficient CABAC and CAVLC entropy engines support throughput up to hundreds of megabits per second. This is particularly useful for applications that require visually lossless video.

Jointwave's innovative H.264 implementation is targeted toward the avionics, aerospace, automotive, surveillance, medical equipment, mobile device, broadcast, video conferencing and consumer electronics industries. The delivery of the core came after a previously signed licensing agreement between Jointwave and Lockheed Martin Space Systems.

About Jointwave

Jointwave LLC focuses on video technologies and codec IP designs for both FPGA and ASIC. The company's high-performance H.264 codec provides broadcast-level video quality while consuming extremely low power and hardware resources, which expands video applications to areas previously considered impossible or cost-prohibitive. Jointwave provides comprehensive consultations and technical services to help customers evaluate and implement a complete H.264 solution. For more information, please visit

About the Lockheed Martin Orion Team:

Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor to NASA for the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV), the nation's next generation spacecraft designed to carry astronauts beyond low Earth orbit on long duration, deep space missions. Lockheed Martin leads the Orion MPCV industry team which includes major subcontractors as well as a nationwide network of minor subcontractors and small businesses. In addition, Lockheed Martin contracts with hundreds of small and disadvantaged business suppliers across the United States through an expansive supply chain network. Visit for more information.

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