Radiation-tolerant FPGAs for easier flight system integration

28th September 2017
Alice Matthews


Provider of semiconductor solutions differentiated by power, security, reliability and performance, Microsemi, has announced its RTG4 high-speed signal processing radiation-tolerant field programmable gate array (FPGA) engineering samples in a ceramic quad flat pack (CQFP) package are now available.

The new CQ352 package, which conforms to the CQFP industry standard for space applications, features 352 pins to enable a more cost-effective integration than higher pin count packages and - according to the company - is the only CQFP package available for high-speed radiation-tolerant FPGAs in its class.

As an industry standard, the CQFP package is well-known for its ability to support a variety of space flight applications, primarily due to their lower costs of integration and well-understood assembly techniques, making CQFP easier to assemble onto the printed circuit board (PCB) than ceramic column grid array (CCGA) packages. As a result, CQFP is widely respected by space customers worldwide, including its meticulous package assembly, inspection and testing processes.

“We are excited to bring one of the most popular package types for space flight applications to Microsemi’s RTG4 FPGA family and provide customers a more cost-effective integration than higher pin count packages,” said Minh Nguyen, Senior Marketing Manager for space at Microsemi. “This addition to our existing CG1657 package not only enhances the overall packaging portfolio for these devices, but also demonstrates our ongoing commitment to delivering innovative solutions which enable customers to confidently evaluate and design while meeting demanding industry specifications.”

The RTG4 FPGA in a CQ352 package is suited to control applications which do not require a high number of inputs/outputs (I/Os), including satellites, space launch vehicles, planetary orbiters and landers and deep space probes, as well as others requiring frequent switching and a high number of temperature cycles, which can be challenging for CCGA packages. According to Euroconsult’s report titled, Satellites to be Built and Launched by 2024, 60% more satellites will be launched by 2024 versus the past decade. This increase is driven primarily by civilian government agencies as established space countries replace and expand their in-orbit satellite systems and more countries acquire their first operational satellite systems.

Microsemi’s RTG4 FPGA in the CQ352 package features 166 3.3V general purpose I/Os, four embedded SpaceWire clock and data recovery circuits and four high-speed serialisation/deserialisation (SerDes) transceivers which can be used for either external physical coding sublayer (EPCS) or Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) protocols. They also maintain the same count of look-up tables (LUTs), flip-flops, digital signal processing (DSP) math blocks and static random-access memory (SRAM) blocks as the existing CCGA package with 1,657 pins.

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