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 FPGA-based platform from Microchip for its solution. With engineering guidance from DornerWorks, the company was able to reduce one of biggest barriers space travelers face when trying to communicate with loved ones back home.

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.