International Space Station
NINE HARDSIL© based die are located on the STP-H5 (Space Test Program – Houston 5) assembly located on the International Space Station to measure effects of protons and cosmic rays. The system was created by Cosmiac in conjunction with NASA Johnson and AFRL (Air Force Research Laboratory) and consists of the VORAGO Technologies PA32KAS MCU, a stack of four 18Mb VORAGO Technologies SRAMs and four Texas Instruments 16Mb SRAM devices processed using HARDSIL© technology.
With support from NASA and partnering with Cosmiac, VORAGO Technologies have developed a stackable set of rad-hard CubeSat compatible compute modules using the VA10820 microcontroller. These boards are intended to allow rapid product development of picosatellites with a guaranteed-by-design rad-hard embedded processor at the heart of the system.
Any CubeSat developer that needs the security of a rad-hard MCU for reliability can download the ‘Radiation Hardened System Control Board for CubeSats’ Tech Brief here.
The VA10820 microcontroller is currently operating on the Astranis satellite DemoSat- 2, which was launched on the PSLV-C40 polar satellite launch vehicle in January 2018. The spacecraft was designed to demonstrate Astranis’ software-defined radio technology and is currently successfully operating in low Earth orbit.
VORAGO HARDSIL® technology is at the heart of two further upcoming missions, STPSat-5 and STPSat-6, both part of the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program (STP).
STPSat-5 is scheduled for late 2017 and will be in a Sun-synch orbit. The technological / scientific payload will further our understanding of this space environment. The STPSat-5 spacecraft build and integration is underway at Sierra Nevada Corporation and the launch vehicle will be Falcon-9 v1.2. The satellite is based upon SNC’s SN-50 Microsat architecture.
STPSat-6 is planned for late 2019 and will be in a Geosynchronous orbit. Several scientific payloads will be included on the satellite that is based upon Orbital ATK’s A500 bus, intended for a design life of 2 – 7 years.
In conjunction with AFRL (Air Force Research Laboratory) and Texas Instruments, VORAGO Technologies implemented HARDSIL® technology to radiation harden high-density SRAMs for space applications. VORAGO solved the major space radiation problems, Single Event Effects (SEEs), Total Ionizing Dose (TID) and Dose Rate by combining HARDSIL© process modifications and layout design innovations. These devices are used in the STP missions.
The VA10820 microcontroller is used in a next-generation X-ray telescope system as a system monitor and configuration solution. This is a popular use-case for the MCU, alongside an FPGA. This development by Penn State is an enhancement over the existing X-ray telescope used in NASA’s Swift mission.
A picture of the printed circuit board is shown below.
Oil & Gas
The VA10800 200°C microcontroller has been used in multiple high temperature downhole drilling applications. The guarantee of high temperature operation by design has proven to be an attractive alternative to using up-screened devices that were not designed to operate at extreme temperature.
VORAGO partnered with PetroMar and Analog Devices to develop a high temperature data acquisition evaluation and reference design kit HT_DAB-1, to simplify development of extreme temperature electronics. The PCB is compatible with a downhole system form factor and comes complete with development software and PC GUI software.