Radiation-tolerant FPGAs assist launch of ten next-gen satellites

10th March 2017
Alice Matthews

Provider of semiconductor solutions, Microsemi, has extended its congratulations to Iridium Communications, Thales Alenia Space, SpaceX and project subcontractors on the successful launch of the first ten Iridium NEXT satellites. Iridium NEXT is Iridium’s next-gen satellite constellation, replacing and enhancing its existing network of low-Earth orbit satellites spanning the globe. The project is leveraging more than 200,000 Microsemi devices suited for satellite communications applications.

As the largest commercial satellite constellation in space, Iridium NEXT makes use of more than 2,000 Microsemi radiation-tolerant Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), including the RTSX32SU, RTAX1000S and RT3PE3000L FPGAs, as well as many of the company’s JANS and JANTXV diodes, such as the popular void-less hermetically sealed versions of the 1N6638, 1N5806 and 1N6640. The Microsemi devices are deployed for a variety of satellite bus and payload applications on the Iridium NEXT satellites and its commercial FPGAs are used in SpaceX’s launch vehicle.

“We applaud the entire Iridium NEXT team on the successful launch of the first ten satellites and we are proud the project is leveraging our 60 years of space heritage and wide range of space products,” said Ken O’Neill, Director of marketing for space and aviation at Microsemi. “Microsemi is honored to play an important role in the next generation of commercial communications satellites with our innovative high-reliability FPGAs, power discretes, systems and power modules. We will continue our commitment to the aerospace and defense market with solutions customers can depend upon to complete their missions even in the most hostile environments.”

Microsemi’s discrete product offering includes over 8,000 Qualified Product List (QPL)/Qualified Manufacturer List (QML) devices, which account for 60% of all certified products on the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA)’s QPL/QML lists. According to Databeans's research report titled, 2016 Semiconductors in Military and Aerospace Electronics, Microsemi is the leading supplier to the defense and aerospace semiconductor market with approximately 20% market share.

The space-grade products from Microsemi include diodes, rectifiers, zeners, Transient Voltage Suppressors (TVSs) and MOSFETs. In addition, its FPGAs offer several different density and performance level options, giving customers the flexibility to choose the best size part for the application. This range of devices reflects its focused efforts on delivering differentiated solutions to the market, with commercial satellite communications part of its ongoing commitment. In addition to the discrete, power DC to DC, hybrid, and FPGA portfolio, the company’s oscillators, motor control and telemetry devices are also suitable for specific satellite applications.

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