FPGAs withstand radiation without configuration scrubbing

8th April 2015
Posted By : Barney Scott
FPGAs withstand radiation without configuration scrubbing

Microsemi has announced the RTG4 high-speed signal processing radiation-tolerant FPGA family. The RTG4’s reprogrammable flash technology offers complete immunity to radiation-induced configuration upsets in the harshest radiation environments, requiring no configuration scrubbing, unlike SRAM FPGA technology. RTG4 supports space applications requiring up to 150,000 logic elements and up to 300MHz of system performance.

Typical uses for RTG4 include remote sensing space payloads, such as radar, imaging and spectrometry in civilian, scientific and commercial applications. These applications span across weather forecasting and climate research, land use, astronomy and astrophysics, planetary exploration, and earth sciences. Other applications include Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) communication satellites, as well as high altitude aviation, medical electronics and civilian nuclear power plant control. Such applications have historically used expensive radiation-hardened ASICs, which force development programs to incur substantial cost and schedule risk. RTG4 allows programs to access the ease-of-use and flexibility of FPGAs without sacrificing reliability or performance.

“We expect that the next 10 years will see an increase of about 25% in the number of spacecraft of 50kg or larger,” said Marco Cáceres, Senior Analyst and Director of Space Studies, Teal Group Consulting. “These spacecraft will have more sophisticated payload electronics than their predecessors, doing more on-board data processing to maximize data acquisition while dealing with limited downlink bandwidth.”

“Space Micro is pleased to be working with Microsemi’s RTG4 FPGAs on our next-gen software-defined radio and also image processing computer, which we are designing for several NASA and international scientific space missions,” said David Strobel, CEO, Space Micro. “We believe the high performance and rich feature set of the RTG4 FPGAs, together with our proprietary advanced processing algorithms, will make for a winning combination, creating great value for our space and missile customers.”

“The introduction of RTG4 FPGAs affirms our strong commitment to the space industry as the leading supplier of FPGAs for applications requiring mitigation of radiation effects,” said Ken O’Neill, Director of Marketing, Space and Aviation, Microsemi. “RTG4 FPGAs combine a wealth of features with the highest quality and reliability to meet the increasing demands of modern satellite payloads.”

Engineering silicon, Libero SoC development software and RTG4 development kits are available now. RTG4 FPGAs and development kits have already shipped to some of the 120+ customers engaged in the RTG4 lead customer programme. Flight units qualified to MIL-STD-883 Class B are expected to be available in early 2016.

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