Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Space Industry and Business News .




TECH SPACE
LEON: the space chip that Europe built
by Staff Writers
Paris (ESA) Jan 10, 2013


Layout of the LEON2-FT chip, alias AT697.

Just like home computers, the sophisticated capabilities of today's space missions are made possible by the power of their processor chips. ESA's coming Alphasat telecom satellite, the Proba-V microsatellite, the Earth-monitoring Sentinel family and the BepiColombo mission to Mercury are among the first missions to use an advanced 32-bit microprocessor - engineered and built in Europe.

All of them incorporate the new LEON2-FT chip, commercially known as the AT697. Engineered to operate within spacecraft computers, this microprocessor is manufactured by Atmel in France but originally designed by ESA.

To give an idea of the kind of complex factors involved in its design, the 'FT' in its name stands for 'fault tolerant', meaning it can withstand the random memory 'bit flips' due to space radiation (for more information, see the link: LEON: The making of a microprocessor for space).

This year's Proba-V microsatellite - surveying daily vegetation growth on a daily basis for a community of scientists previously served by the Spot satellites - will use the AT697 processor in its main flight computer.

And while Alphasat employs an older ERC32 chip in its main flight computer, LEON2-FT will be operating an experimental star tracker aboard the satellite as well as the payload computer.

Also with ERC32-based flight computers, ESA's Sentinels, the first of which will also be launched in the coming year, will similarly harness LEON2-FT chips in their GPS receivers and startrackers for navigation. ESA's 2014 IXV Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle for testing atmospheric reentry will control its avionics with a LEON2-FT chip. And 2015's BepiColombo mission to Mercury and 2018's Gaia star-mapper are both using the same design.

The underlying LEON design has also been made available to Europe's space industry as the basis for company-owned 'system-on-chip' microprocessors optimised for dedicated tasks. For instance, Astrium is using it to create a space-based GPS/Galileo satnav receiver.

How did ESA end up designing computer chips in the first place? As one of the only bodies worldwide to deal with the entire range of space activities, the Agency is as concerned with the internal components used to put together missions as the design of the missions themselves.

"One of the main reasons for ESA to exist is to ensure the independence of Europe's space industry," said Roland Weigand of ESA's microelectronics section. "If we are too dependent on parts from outside Europe whose supply could be restricted at any time then the competitiveness, even the long-term viability, of our space sector comes into question. That's become a real concern with foreign export controls and related regulations.

"ESA first became motivated to get involved with microprocessor development back in the 1990s as they became more central to the performance of space missions.

"Independence from non-European parts is also a driver of our European Components Initiative, in place for the last decade, which is working with European industry to bring new components to market."

.


Related Links
Microelectronics
European Components Initiative (ECI)
Alphasat/Alphabus
Sentinels
Proba-V
IXV
Space Technology News - Applications and Research






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





TECH SPACE
LEON: the space chip that Europe built
Paris (ESA) Jan 09, 2013
Just like home computers, the sophisticated capabilities of today's space missions are made possible by the power of their processor chips. ESA's coming Alphasat telecom satellite, the Proba-V microsatellite, the Earth-monitoring Sentinel family and the BepiColombo mission to Mercury are among the first missions to use an advanced 32-bit microprocessor - engineered and built in Europe. All ... read more


TECH SPACE
LEON: the space chip that Europe built

Counting the twists in a helical light beam

Oscillating Gel Gives Synthetic Materials the Ability to "Speak"

Cloud computing expands in Latin America

TECH SPACE
MUOS Waveform Will Improve Secure Communications Capabilities

DARPA selects SwRI's K-band space crosslink radio for flight development as part of System F6 Program

BAE pulls out of Australian comms tender

Can You Program a Radio to Dominate the Spectrum?

TECH SPACE
Arianespace to launch VNREDSat-1A built by Astrium for Vietnam

Arianespace says 2012 sales leapt by 30%

CSF Applauds Passage Of Risk-Sharing Regime Extension For Launch Industry

Rokot Launch Set for January 15

TECH SPACE
New location system could compete with GPS

Beidou's unique services attractive to Chinese companies

China eyes greater market share for its GPS rival

Researchers told to ward off navigation system interference

TECH SPACE
India says contract on French Rafale jets being fine-tuned

Canada urged to buy more C-17 Globemasters

France's Hollande to push for Rafale sale in UAE

NASA Green Aviation Project To Move Into Next Phase Of Research

TECH SPACE
Power spintronics: Producing AC voltages by manipulating magnetic fields

Researchers demonstrate record-setting p-type transistor

Marvell hit with billion-dollar verdict in patent case

Physicists take photonic topological insulators to the next level

TECH SPACE
Joint Polar Satellite System Common Ground System now serving newest mission

Lockheed Martin Delivered Core Structure For First GOES-R Satellite

Joint Polar Satellite System Common Ground System now serving newest mission

Google maps New Year's resolutions around the world

TECH SPACE
Study finds flame retardant pollutants at far-flung locations

Mercury said risk in developing countries

Counting the cost of mercury pollution

Counting the cost of mercury pollution




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement