With 10 Times the Processing Power – New Smaller, Faster Microelectronic Chips Benefit Space Exploration

Several Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) are prepped on a wafer thin slice of semiconductor material for a trip into space.
Space missions that were never before possible – now are, with our new 45nm ASIC microchips

Our new 45 nanometer (nm) Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) pack 10 times more functionality and performance into the same size as current chips, without adding significant power needs.  Specialized for space environments, the microchips enable more functions to perform simultaneously, bringing higher processing capability to on-orbit communications, surveillance and tracking, as well as to planetary exploration and classified satellite missions. Not only do the new microchips streamline these capabilities, but they also withstand extreme temperature changes that spacecraft have to endure.
“Designing microelectronics for space missions is a complex job because spacecraft are continually bombarded with radiation from the sun, and also need to function in the frigid environment of space,” said Ian McDonald, director of Space Products and Processing for BAE Systems. “Devices that are faster, smaller, and can withstand a harsh radiation environment -- like our new ASICs -- are mission-critical.  Our design team has done an excellent job using advanced commercial technology and several radiation hardening design techniques to produce a world-class capability.”

By leveraging 45nm technology in combination with nearly 30 years of radiation hardening design experience, we’re committed to producing ASICs that meet the growing performance needs of national satellite assets and sensor payloads for space. With delivery of more than 10,000 radiation-hardened ASICs to date, we bring a superior level of technology expertise to solving future space application processing challenges, while decreasing cost and on-board power consumption.  

Initial chips for the space market using 45nm technology will be available by the end of this year, with qualification in mid-2014.