Over 200 billion ARM cores have been shipped many of which are being used in safety-critical applications such as the braking systems of a car, automobile power steering, self-driving vehicles, aircraft, medical, railway and industrial control sub-systems etc... The space industry has been flying ARM cores for almost a decade, either as IP within an FPGA or ASIC, or as small, low-power, discrete, radiation-hardened MCUs.
Powering-on your Space Electronics for the first time is always daunting, but very exciting! For initial board ‘bring-up’, there are always so many questions: is your design functional? Has the PCB been fabricated reliably? Has the hardware been assembled correctly, e.g. have parts been placed in the correct orientation and/or have BGAs/CGAs been checked to ensure there are no solder bridges? Once in orbit, the obvious concern is whether your avionics survived the shock and vibration of launch? Before powering-on your Space Electronics for the first time, there is a choregraphed sequence of checks you need to carry-out before supplying a voltage. What happens if there is a short-circuit after applying power?
Satellite and spacecraft sub-systems are increasingly using more and more on-board storage, and the choice of memory has a major impact on overall capacity, physical size, power-consumption, speed, reliability and mission lifetime. One technology is fabricated with known erroneous bits, with limits on the total number of permitted write operations, which could constrain or jeopardise your mission’s on-board storage needs! SDRAM, MRAM, NAND flash, NOR Flash, SONOS, SRAM, PROM, DRAM, EEPROM, volatile, non-volatile and SPI memory, which one is right for you?
Rajan’s award-winning blog on Space Electronics, Out-of-this-World Design, is being read by 19,000 people every month and has been viewed almost eight million times. Articles have been hosted by EDN since 2013 and selected posts can be viewed by hovering and clicking the images below:
Global population is predicted to increase to almost ten billion people by 2050 requiring food production to increase by 70%. At the same time, the amount of land available to grow crops is declining rapidly. Learn how satellite technology is enabling smart agriculture.
Many satellite and spacecraft OEMs around the world are looking for ITAR/EAR-free, rad-hard, ultra deep-submicron FPGAs. Discover how, BRAVE, a new family of European rad-hard FPGAs, addresses this market need.
Satellite manufacturers are designing and making proprietary isolated DC-DCs and switching point-of-loads. Learn how magnetics, power transformers and inductors, are fundamental to the design of these voltage regulators.
Integrating GSPS ADCs and DACs with Xilinx's programmable MPSoC fabric reduces physical footprint and chip-to-chip latency, completely eliminating the external digital interfaces between the mixed-signal convertors and the FPGA. RFSoC will enable the next generation of ground-segment electronics.
With so much emphasis on low cost, many spacecraft manufacturers are making their own voltage regulators using space-grade or COTS-based discrete components. Discover how to make your own low-cost DC-DCs for your next satellite.
To enable the next generation of satellite applications, OEMs need to exploit the latest ADC and DACs. However, these need to be powered and clocked properly to deliver their specified performance. Learn how to extract maximum performance from your space-grade ADCs and DACs.
Low-cost COTS components are being used successfully in space: their use requires careful risk assessment and their operation and/or specification may have to be modified or de-rated to meet your mission's reliability needs.
Today, there are six major suppliers of qualified, radiation-hardened, isolated DC-DCs which convert the power bus to an intermediate voltage for input to POLs. Which part is right for your next project?
Today, there are ten suppliers of qualified, radiation-hardened, non-isolated, switching POLs for you to choose from. Which part is right for your next project? Vendors will say theirs is the most suitable and the best POL to power your loads.
Poor PCB layout, inadequate floor-planning, ineffective de-coupling, and weak filtering cause AC noise, interference and transients on the power rails supplying space-grade FPGAs, ADCs, and DACs, impacting their performance. Learn how you can you identify the root causes and how bad they are?
Given that our lives depend on the reliability of ARM-based fail-safe systems every day, can the space industry also benefit from the performance, power, size, ease of use, and accessibility benefits of the ARM architecture?
As SERDES bit rates increase, spacecraft OEMs are grappling with how to measure and characterise the performance and reliability of hardware high-speed serial links to ensure satellite sub-systems are developed right-first time.
To deliver the next generation of satellite services, spacecraft operators are increasingly using larger bandwidths at higher frequencies. Characterising transponder performance such as SNR, BER, SFDR and flatness over hundreds of MHz or several GHz, can be very difficult for OEMs and equally challenging for suppliers of test and measurement equipment.
To support the development of high-throughput payloads, satellite manufacturers are exploiting the benefits of high-speed serial links to connect multiple FPGAs/ASICs on a single PCB and/or transfer data between modules. As bit rates increase, spacecraft OEMs are grappling with how to verify signal integrity and assess the performance and reliability of SERDES channels to ensure sub-systems are developed right-first time.
FPGAs are increasingly being used in almost every spacecraft sub-system and designers now have a choice of process technologies and diverse fabrics. Which one is right for your next mission?