Rad-Tolerant FPGA Gets Ready For Blastoff

March 17, 2008
Engineering for space (as in less than 3 degrees Kelvin) requires a greater emphasis on radiation tolerance, mass, size, power consumption, and reliability. But since space applications are typically low-count, FPGAs can play a crucial role in their devel

Engineering for space (as in less than 3 degrees Kelvin) requires a greater emphasis on radiation tolerance, mass, size, power consumption, and reliability. After all, as we all know from the infamous Mars orbiter incident, the slightest miscalculation in space can be costly—to the tune of $125 million to John and Jane Doe taxpayer. But since space applications are typically low-count, FPGAs can play a crucial role in their development and deployment.

The latest part in Actel’s RTAX-S family, the RTAX4000S, is a 4 million-gate rad-tolerant FPGA qualified for MIL-STD 883 Class B. It offers minimal power consumption, a small footprint, and light weight. It also provides high reliability, completing 1000 hours of high-temperature operating life (HTOL) testing and 80,000 total hours of testing to date.

Actel continues to qualify the device for QML Class Q and V certifications, including error-corrected memory and a nice I/O count, making high-bandwidth processing applications used in spacecraft payloads possible. And since the device has been hardened by design to guard against single-event upsets, it requires no radiation mitigation techniques. Competing devices require the user to design-in triple-module redundancy, which consumes significant logic resources.

“We continue to build and support our highly successful RTAX-S product portfolio,” said Ken O’Neill, director of marketing, military and aerospace, at Actel. “No other FPGA delivers the high density, radiation tolerance, and the reliability of the RTAX4000S device.”

The largest member of the family, the RTAX4000S, is available now. Contact the company for pricing information.

Actel

www.actel.com/products/milaero/rtaxs/

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