Many of those who could only dream of space exploration in the last 50 years will be traveling to Mars in the next, and companies are already launching products to improve the quality of life of those interplanetary travelers. Given the lengthy process of designing and fabricating radiation hardened commercial chips, however, there are far more legacy Power PC (PPC) devices that clear this hurdle than ARM options.

Not satisfied with the limitations of the status quo, one aerospace company decided on a radiation-hardened ARM platform from Microchip for its solution, which would ease communication between space travelers and their loved ones on earth. That decision forced the company to make another tough choice: either develop the complex IP on its own or scrubbing the product launch.

Then they came to DornerWorks for FPGA engineering services.

Our Solution

DornerWorks guided the company toward Microchip’s RTG4 radiation tolerant FPGAs rather than a strict software approach.

  • Custom IP was developed for the FPGA, meeting the IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol standard for networking.
  • DornerWorks implemented multiple Microchip FPGAs with a RISC-V softcore processor, using a modified version of its own MAC core.
  • Being compatible with the end-users’ commercial devices, the product spans markets and cements the company’s hold on the aerospace market.
  • Flexible data rights for the finished product give the company full ownership of its own innovation.