Rad-hard FPGA dev kit suits high-bandwidth space designs

Posted By : Barney Scott
Rad-hard FPGA dev kit suits high-bandwidth space designs

Microsemi has announced the availability of its RTG4 FPGA Development Kit, the first of its kind to provide space designers with an evaluation and development platform for applications such as data transmission, serial connectivity, bus interface and high-speed designs using Microsemi’s RTG4 high-speed signal processing radiation-tolerant FPGA device.

The development kit provides all necessary reference to evaluate and adopt RTG4 technology quickly, without the need to build a test board and assemble the device onto the board. The RTG4 Development Kit is suitable for evaluating and designing for remote sensing space payloads, radar and imaging, as well as spectrometry in civilian, scientific and commercial applications. Other applications include Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) communication satellites, as well as high altitude aviation, medical electronics and civilian nuclear power plant control.

“Our RTG4 Development Kit provides customers ease of design for space applications, which we expect to drive design activity as we provide a standard platform showcasing RTG4 capabilities, IP performance, as well as interoperability with Microsemi’s industry-leading portfolio of space solutions,” said Minh Nguyen, Senior Marketing Manager, Space and Aviation, Microsemi. “In addition to Microsemi’s commitment to the space industry as the leading supplier of FPGAs for applications requiring mitigation of radiation effects, this new development kit affirms our dedication to providing evaluation and development solutions to help designers successfully leverage our latest technologies.”

“The extensive logic, memory, DSP blocks and IO capabilities of Microsemi’s RTG4 FPGA with its inherent radiation tolerance and inbuilt configuration memory make this device perfect for spacecraft on-board applications,” said Prof. Steve Parkes, Managing Director of U.K. space company STAR-Dundee. “As a world leader in SpaceWire network technology for spacecraft onboard data-handling, we took advantage of RTG4’s embedded SpaceWire clock recovery circuits and high-speed SERDES capabilities to quickly demonstrate our flight-proven SpaceWire IP running at over 200Mb/s, and our next-gen SpaceFibre IP at 2.5Gb/s using Microsemi’s RTG4 Development Kit. We believe that RTG4 FPGAs and our advanced IPs will make for a winning combination, creating great value for our space customers.”

According to Marco Cáceres, senior analyst and director of space studies for the Virginia-based Teal Group consulting firm, the next 10 years will see an increase of about 25% in the number of new spacecraft of 50kg mass or larger. He expects these spacecraft to have more sophisticated payload electronics than their predecessors, doing more on-board data processing to maximise data acquisition while dealing with limited downlink bandwidth.

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