Spaceflight system developers often commit to designing with new components only after they have received MIL-STD-883 Class B qualification and are in the process of meeting the Qualified Manufacturers List (QML) Class Q and Class V standards for spaceflight component reliability.
Microchip Technology has now achieved the first qualification milestone with its RT PolarFire FPGA, enabling designers to begin assembling spaceflight systems that take advantage of this FPGA’s computing and connectivity throughput and its lower power consumption and immunity to configuration Single Event Upsets (SEUs) compared to SRAM-based FPGAs.
“Microchip is a QML-certified manufacturer of high-reliability FPGAs for space applications and has attained the highest available Class V qualification multiple times on FPGAs and other integrated circuits,” said Shakeel Peera, VP of marketing for Microchip’s FPGA business unit. “This MIL-STD-883 class B qualification is yet another big step toward solving some of spaceflight’s most difficult system challenges including reducing satellite signal processing congestion with much lower power consumption and greater reliability than is possible using alternative FPGA solutions.
Peera added: “We have started the final step of qualifying our RT PolarFire FPGAs to both QML Class Q and Class V requirements.”
To achieve MIL-STD-883 Class B qualification, RT PolarFire FPGAs passed a series of environmental tests to determine resistance to the harmful effects of natural elements, the conditions of defense and space operations and mechanical and electrical tests.
Passing these tests paves the way for QML Class Q and V qualification while demonstrating the reliability advantages of RT PolarFire FPGAs in space. Their embedded configuration switches have been shown to be robust to more than 100 krad of total ionizing dose radiation exposure, which makes them suitable for most earth-orbiting satellites and many deep space missions.
Unlike alternative solutions, these FPGAs do not exhibit any configuration upsets in radiation and, therefore, require no mitigation, reducing engineering expenses and bill of materials costs.
The RT PolarFire FPGA Family
The RT PolarFire FPGA family brings Microchip’s 60 years of spaceflight heritage to a product line that delivers the necessary computing and connectivity throughput for modern space missions. These FPGAs consume up to 50% less power than SRAM-based alternatives while enabling on-orbit data processing systems to meet demanding performance requirements and reliable operation without excessive heat generation in the harsh radiation environment of space.
Their unique combination of Logic Elements (LEs), embedded SRAM, DSP blocks and 12.7 Gbps transceiver lanes enables higher resolution for passive and active imaging, more channels and finer channel resolution for multi-spectral, and hyper-spectral imaging, and more precise scientific measurements using noisy data from remote sources.
The RT PolarFire FPGAs can also be paired with one or more complementary Microchip solutions in today’s spaceflight systems, including its Ethernet PHY VSC8541RT, CAN interface USB-to-UART PHYs, clocks, and oscillators from the company’s clock and timing solutions group and power solutions from its analog power and interface group.
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