SAMRH71 Arm-based processor is space-qualified, says Microchip
Commercial off the shelf (COTS) technologies and scalable solutions are increasingly used in space applications to improve integration and performance while reducing development costs and time to market, says Microchip. The company has announced the qualification of its SAMRH71 Arm-based microprocessor and the availability of the SAMRH707 microcontroller, both implementing Arm Cortex-M7 SoC radiation-hardened (rad-hard) technology.
“Spacecraft and satellites are expanding in complexity to provide commercial and military operators with robust new communication and data capabilities, greater reliability and faster speeds, while the operators continuously seek to reduce cost, size and weight,” said Bob Vampola, associate vice president of Microchip’s aerospace and defence business unit. “In this environment, lowering system development costs while enabling greater capabilities and space system integration are ever more critical.”
Microchip’s SAMRH71 and SAMRH707 were developed with the support of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Centre National D’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), the French space agency.
“The introduction of Arm technologies for space applications opens up new perspectives by enabling the use of the same ecosystem well in place in the consumer and industrial sectors,” said David Dangla, VLSI components expert at CNES. “The SAMRH71 is the first Arm Cortex M7-based rad-hard microprocessor available today on the market. It offers developers the simplicity of a single-core processor and the performance of an advanced architecture without having to implement heavy mitigation techniques as is required for non-space components.”
“Integration of [DACs] and [ADCs] together with a powerful processor core is a key requirement for addressing new challenges in aerospace applications,” said Kostas Marinis, on-board computers engineer at ESA. “With the SAMRH707, Microchip provides easy-to-use capabilities in cost-effective, radiation-hardened microcontrollers.”
The SAMRH71 and SAMRH707 rely on the standard Arm Cortex-M7 architecture and the same peripherals as automotive and industrial processors. They contribute to system development cost savings and schedule optimisation by leveraging standard software and hardware tools from the consumer devices, explains Microchip.
The SAMRH71, a rad-hardened variant of Microchip’s COTS automotive SoC technology, provides a combination of space connectivity interfaces with high-performance architecture with more than 200 Dhrystone MIPS (DMIPS). Designed for high level radiation performance, extreme temperatures and high reliability, the SAMRH71’s Arm Cortex-M7 core is coupled with high-bandwidth communication interfaces such as SpaceWire, MIL-STD-1553, CAN FD and Ethernet with IEEE 1588 generalised precision time protocol (gPTP) capabilities. The device is ESCC- qualified with support from CNES and is compliant with MIL standard Class V and Q high-reliability grades.
The SAMRH707 device provides analogue functions on top of a 100 DMIPS and above processor unit with digital signal processing (DSP) capabilities. It has space connectivity interfaces in a small footprint designed for high level radiation performance, extreme temperatures and high reliability. The SAMRH707 enables a high level of integration embedding static random access memory (SRAM) and flash memory, high bandwidth communication interfaces including SpaceWire, MIL-STD-1553 and CAN FD, along with analogue functions such as a 12-bit ADC and DAC.
Microchip provides space-designed microcontrollers, microprocessors and FPGAs, space-qualified, radiation-hardened and radiation-tolerant power, timing and clock devices, as well as connectivity and memory products.
To speed system design, developers can use the SAMRH71F20-EK and SAMRH707F18-EK evaluation boards. Microchip’s full ecosystem supports its SAMRH707 and SAMRH71 space processors and includes MPLAB Harmony tools suite and third-party software services for space applications.
Both the SAMRH71 and SAMRH707 are supported by the company’s integrated development environment (IDE) for developing, debugging and software libraries. The devices are supported in MPLAB Harmony version 3.0.
The SAMRH71 ceramic package device is available in volume production quantities with QMLQ (SAMRH71F20C-7GB-MQ) and QMLV (SAMRH71F20C-7GB-SV) equivalent qualification levels. For applications requiring high volumes and cost-optimised structures, the SAMRH71 is available for PCB design or evaluation in BGA plastic packaging. The SAMRH707 in a CQFP164 ceramic package is sampling now (SAMRH707F18A-DRB-E).