Aerospace & Defence

Rad tolerant megaAVR MCU for space applications

21st October 2015
Nat Bowers

Targeting next-gen space applications, Atmel has announced the ATmegaS128 MCU which is the company's first µC radiation tolerant device. In addition to all the popular features of the megaAVR family, the new ATmegaS128 delivers full wafer lot traceability, 64-lead CQFP, space screening, space qualification according to QML and ESCC flow and total ionising dose up to 30Krad for space applications.

The ATMegaS128 is 'latch up' immune thanks to a dedicated silicon process: SEL LET > 62.5Mev at 125°C, 8MHz/3.3V. SEU to heavy ions is estimated to 10-3 error/device/day for Low Earth Orbit applications.

With billions of commercial AVR devices widely deployed throughout the world, the new space-grade AVR family benefits from support of the Atmel Studio ecosystem and allows aerospace developers to use the industrial-version of the ATmega AVR to prototype their applications for a fraction of the cost. The ATmegaS128 is available in a ceramic hermetic packaging and is pin-to-pin and drop-in compatible with existing ATmega128 MCUs, allowing flexibility between commercial and qualified devices, enabling faster-time-to-market and minimising development costs. With this cost-effective approach and a plastic Hirel-qualified version, the ATmegaS128 can be also considered in more general aerospace applications including class A and B avionic critical cases where radiation tolerance is also a key requirement.

Patrick Sauvage, General Manager, Aerospace Business Unit, Atmel, commented: “With nearly three decades of aerospace experience, we are thrilled to bring one of our most popular MCU cores to space - the AVR MCU. By improving radiation performance with our proven Atmel AVR cores and ecosystem, the new ATmegaS128 provides developers targeting space applications a smaller footprint, lower power and full analogue integration such as motor and sensor control along with data handling functions for payload and platform. We look forward to putting more Atmel solutions into space.”

To ease the design process and accelerate time-to-market, Atmel offers a complete STK600 starter kit and development system for the ATmegaS128 AVR MCU giving designers a quick start to develop code on the AVR with advanced features for prototyping and testing new designs. Customers can also start their designs with an industrial version of the ATmega128, with the exact pin-out of the ATmegaS128, to save costs. The new AVRs are supported by the proven Atmel Studio IDP for developing and debugging Atmel | SMART ARM processor-based MCUs and Atmel AVR MCU applications, along with the Atmel Software Framework.

Key features of the Atmel Space ATmegaS128:

  • High-performance, low-power Atmel AVR 8-bit MCU;
  • High endurance, non-volatile memory;
  • Robust peripherals including 8- and 16-bit timers/counters; six PWM channels; 8-channel, 10-bit ADC; TWI/USARTs/SPI serial interface; programmable watchdog timer; and on-chip analogue compactor;
  • Power-on reset and programmable brown-out detection;
  • Internal calibrated RC oscillator;
  • External and internal interrupt sources;
  • Six sleep modes; and
  • Power-down, standby and extended standby.

Atmel is currently engaging with alpha customers on the ATmegaS128 devices now.

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