Military Embedded Systems

Microcontroller for space use gets European Space Agency win


September 16, 2020

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Microcontroller for space use gets European Space Agency win
Image: Cobham Gaisler

GOTHENBURG, Sweden. Cobham Gaisler -- a space design center of Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions -- has received a contract from the European Space Agency (ESA) for the development and validation of a new mixed-signal LEON3FT microcontroller, which is aimed at use in satellite and other space applications.

The new GR716B LEON3FT microcontroller, based on its previous GR716 series of microcontrollers for radiation-hardened mixed-signal processing applications, will add more analog functions, support for DC/DC conversion, and in-orbit latch-up monitoring of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) devices, plus functionality for programming and scrubbing of reprogrammable field-programmable gate array (FPGA) devices such as the RT Kintex UltraScale FPGA from Xilinx.

Cobham Gaisler’s GR716B LEON3FT microcontroller is intended for use in such space applications as satellite supervision, monitoring, and control; it can handle operation of remote terminal and instrument control units, propulsion systems, robotics, motor control, and power switching converters for full-bridge topologies with power system monitoring. 

The newly announced GR716B development is funded by the ESA ARTES (Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems) Competitiveness & Growth element with funding support from the Swedish National Space Agency (SNSA) and Cobham Gaisler.

It is expected that the GR716B microcontroller will be assembled in a hermetic ceramic encapsulated package and will be available in prototyping quality in early 2022. 

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