New development kit features rad-tolerant RTG4 PROTO FPGAs

30-06-2016 | MicroSemi | Development Boards

Microsemi has announced availability of the RTG4 Development Kit featuring its recently announced RTG4 PROTO field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs).

As the industry’s first radiation-tolerant FPGA kit providing space designers a comprehensive evaluation and design platform, the new kit is ideal for the development of applications such as data transmission, serial connectivity, bus interface and high speed designs, using the company’s RTG4 radiation-tolerant high-speed FPGAs.

The new kit includes Microsemi’s RTG4 PROTO FPGAs, enabling lower cost prototyping and design validation while offering the only reprogrammable prototyping solution of their kind delivering the same timing and power characteristics as space flight units. 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, says the company.

“Our unique RTG4 FPGAs have brought new capabilities to the space market, and now the new development kit with RTG4 PROTO FPGAs provides customers the reference needed to evaluate and adopt RTG4 technology quickly,” said Ken O’Neill, director of marketing, space and aviation, Microsemi. “This provides customers with ease of design for space applications, which we expect to drive design activity. In addition to showcasing RTG4 capabilities, the new platform also highlights intellectual property (IP) performance, as well as interoperability with Microsemi’s comprehensive portfolio of space solutions.”

The RTG4 Development Kit board features a RT4G150 device offering more than 150,000 logic elements in a ceramic package with 1,657 pins. Its reprogrammable flash configuration is unique to the space industry, making prototyping faster and easier than other radiation-tolerant FPGAs. The kit also features Microsemi’s Libero SoC Design Suite, offering high productivity with its comprehensive, easy to learn, easy to adopt development tools for designing with Microsemi’s radiation-tolerant FPGAs. The suite integrates industry standard Synopsys SynplifyPro synthesis and Mentor Graphics ModelSim simulation with best-in-class constraints management, debug capabilities and secure production programming support.

Steve Parkes, managing director of U.K.-based STAR-Dundee, added: “As an aerospace company focused on spacecraft on-board data handling and processing technology, STAR-Dundee was pleased to successfully demonstrate our SpaceWire and SpaceFibre intellectual property (IP) cores using Microsemi’s RTG4 Development Kit. “Our SpaceWire IP is now approaching 400 megabits per second in RTG4, and our next-generation SpaceFibre IP is running at 3.125 gigabits per second on single lane, and at 6.25 gigabits per second on two lanes. These results clearly demonstrate the excellent communications capabilities of RTG4 which is an ideal platform for data-handling on-board spacecraft.”

According to Euroconsult's 2015 report titled, 'Satellites to Be Built and Launched by 2024', 60 percent more satellites will be launched by 2024 versus the past decade. This increase is driven primarily by civilian government agencies as established space countries replace and expand their in-orbit satellite systems and more countries acquire their first operational satellite systems.

In addition to satellite applications, Microsemi’s RTG4 FPGAs are ideal for space launch vehicles, planetary orbiters and landers, and deep-space probes. Target users include designers, program managers, system architects and component engineers serving the space market, says the company.

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