FPGA development kit for high-bandwidth space & rad-hard applications

August 14, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Offering it as the first radiation-tolerant FPGA for designers of space systems, Microsemi has introduced an evaluation and design platform, the RTG4 FPGA Development Kit

The kit provides space designers with an evaluation and development platform for applications such as data transmission, serial connectivity, bus interface and high-speed designs using Microsemi’s RTG4 high-speed signal processing radiation-tolerant field programmable gate array (FPGA) device.

“Our RTG4 Development Kit provides customers ease of design for space applications, which we expect to drive design activity as we provide a standard platform showcasing RTG4 capabilities, intellectual property (IP) performance, as well as interoperability with Microsemi’s industry-leading portfolio of space solutions,” Microsemi comments.

The development kit provides all necessary reference to evaluate and adopt RTG4 technology quickly, without the need to build a test board and assemble the device onto the board. It is applicable to remote sensing space payloads, radar and imaging, as well as spectrometry in civilian, scientific and commercial applications. Other applications include mobile satellite services (MSS) communication satellites, as well as high altitude aviation, medical electronics and civilian nuclear power plant control.

“The extensive logic, memory, DSP blocks and IO capabilities of Microsemi’s RTG4 FPGA with its inherent radiation tolerance and inbuilt configuration memory make this device perfect for spacecraft on-board applications,” said Prof. Steve Parkes, managing director of U.K. space company, STAR-Dundee. “As a world leader in SpaceWire network technology for spacecraft onboard data-handling, we took advantage of RTG4’s embedded SpaceWire clock recovery circuits and high-speed SERDES capabilities to quickly demonstrate our flight-proven SpaceWire IP running at over 200 Mb/sec, and our next-generation SpaceFibre IP at 2.5 Gb/sec using Microsemi’s RTG4 Development Kit. We believe that RTG4 FPGAs and our advanced IPs will make for a winning combination, creating great value for our space customers.”

RTG4 FPGAs are configured for modern satellite payloads. RTG4’s reprogrammable flash technology offers complete immunity to radiation-induced configuration upsets in the harshest radiation environments, without the configuration scrubbing required with SRAM FPGA technology. RTG4 supports space applications requiring up to 150,000 logic elements and up to 300 MHz of system performance. RTG4 is Microsemi’s latest development in a long history of radiation-tolerant FPGAs (formerly Actel branded) that are found in many NASA and international space programs.

Microsemi; www.microsemi.com/products/fpga-soc/radtolerant-fpgas/rtg4 and www.microsemi.com/products/fpga-soc/design-resources/dev-kits/rtg4-development-kit

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