Aerospace & Defence

Microchip will speed the data transfer in harsh environments

22nd October 2015
Jordan Mulcare

BAE Systems and Integrated Device Technology has announced a technology for space applications that will transfer greater volumes of data at higher speeds than ever before possible during space missions. BAE Systems’ space-grade microchip, known as the RADNET1848-PS space-grade RapidIO switch, will use the market’s first RapidIO interconnect to speed massive amounts data through a network of radiation-hardened computer systems in outer space.

BAE Systems selected IDT’s 240 Gbps CPS-1848 RapidIO switch as the foundation for its RADNET1848-PS product. IDT’s RapidIO chip, used to connect computer system components, delivers high reliability at ultra-high speeds. It delivers superior performance per watt, low latency and deterministic packet delivery to enable reliable, fault-tolerant systems. These space-grade solutions are resilient to and can work within the ionising/radiation-intensive environments of space. BAE Systems’ rad-hard RapidIO switch is now available for sale to the space and military communities.

“With more complex sensors being introduced into space missions, BAE Systems recognised the need to develop microchips that can handle the related increase in larger-volume data transfer, and with IDT’s technology, we have accomplished that goal,” said Ian McDonald, Director of Space Products and Processing, BAE Systems. “These types of advances will provide the mission critical, high performance networking connectivity necessary for the next gen of high performance space systems for military, commercial, and civil applications and possibly even high energy physics systems.”

BAE Systems and IDT have been working with other leading technology companies to develop products for use in space. With the RADNET1848-PS space-grade RapidIO switch, system architectures can now build upon this new backbone data interconnect. 

The concept of the new RapidIO switch began in 2012, when the selection team of the Next Generation Space Interconnect Standard (NGSIS) chose the RapidIO protocol as the technology of choice for digital data transport, selecting it over Ethernet, Infiniband and PCIe interconnect. The NGSIS, a government-industry collaboration, had been charged with defining a set of standards for interconnects between space system components. The standards, collectively known as SpaceVPX, are intended to promote interoperability so that users can cost effectively develop computer systems for use in space.

“Our RapidIO technology was recently adopted by CERN to help researchers explore the mysteries of the universe, and now it’s headed to space itself,” said Sean Fan, Vice President and General Manager, IDT’s Interface and Connectivity Division. “As the capabilities and benefits of RapidIO are increasingly recognised, its role in high-volume Earth-based applications—such as wireless communications and Big Data analytics—will only continue to grow.”

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