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News > Novel Technology Takes Great Step Forward with Success in Flight
 
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AFRL’s radiation-hardened  Xilinx Virtex 5QV Field Programmable Gate Array. (USAF Photo)
AFRL’s radiation-hardened Xilinx Virtex 5QV Field Programmable Gate Array has been deemed a success after flying with Sandia National Labs Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE-8) since May 2011. (USAF Photo)
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Novel Technology Takes Great Step Forward with Success in Flight

Posted 5/23/2013   Updated 5/28/2013 Email story   Print story

    


by Eva Blaylock
AFRL/Space Vehicles


5/23/2013 - KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, New Mexico -- The Air Force Research Laboratory's radiation-hardened Xilinx Virtex 5QV Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) has been deemed a success after flying with Sandia National Labs Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE-8) since May 2011. No single-event upset errors were detected in the AFRL-funded Xilinx Virtex 5QV, in contrast to an unhardened Virtex 4 FPGA running in parallel, which upset several times during the same period.

As the world's largest rad-hard reconfigurable programmable logic device, the Virtex-5QV FPGA is well suited to help next-generation space systems push the boundaries for performance and capability in applications such as video display, communications, radar, encryption, packet processing and control.

In 2007, the AFRL's Space Vehicles Directorate contracted with Xilinx Corporation to develop a radiation-hardened version of their flagship Virtex-5™ FPGA. Using Radiation Hardening By Design techniques developed at AFRL, Xilinx redesigned the Virtex-5, circuit by circuit and block by block. After almost three years of building test circuits and prototypes, Xilinx fabricated an initial pilot run of the hardened Virtex-5. At around a billion transistors, it is by far the most complex and advanced chip ever hardened for space.

The radiation-hardened Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA represents the biggest step ever taken in performance and affordability for space electronics. This is a great achievement for AFRL, being a funded hardening of commercial design in collaborative use for international efforts. It will continue in use for AFRL-developed and industry space systems.



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