in Space

Cobham releases radiation-hardened OBC reference design

Posted 12 August 2019 · Add Comment

Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions (CAES) has announced the availability of a radiation-hardened Onboard Computing (OBC) reference design to speed the development of space computing platforms including CubeSats.


Courtesy Cobham


Historically used in low-orbit Earth for applications such as remote sensing or communications, CubeSats are being increasingly deployed for interplanetary missions due to their numerous benefits such as standardisation, affordability and their small form factor.

CubeSats have traditionally been based on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) electronics, however, Cobham’s OBC Reference Design offers a path to significantly higher reliability and enables system architects to easily develop a computing platform that is ready for space flight.

“Leveraging our expertise developed over decades of providing radiation-hardened, high reliability components as well as our software expertise for space and satellite systems, this OBC Reference Design offers extensive benefits by combining Cobham’s best-in-class high reliability components and software IP to enable prolonged missions and larger payloads while significantly reducing time-to-market and development risk, said Kevin Jackson, Vice President and General Manager, Semiconductor and Space Solutions, Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions.  “From Apollo to today’s commercial mega constellations, CAES has a long heritage of providing world leading space technologies.

"Our semiconductor, RadHard, high reliability microelectronic products are recognized for their rich feature set, performance, pedigree, and dependability. They have powered hundreds of missions including NASA InSight, Parker Solar Probe, and numerous commercial, military and government satellites. We look forward to continuing our heritage of innovation through our new cost-effective LeanREL ICs, OBC solutions, and more.”

Building upon previous development work that Cobham performed for the European Space Agency (ESA) for its upcoming JUICE mission to Jupiter’s icy moons, Cobham’s OBC Reference Design is based on the company’s GR712RC LEON3FT Dual Core Microprocessor and fits into a footprint as small as 100 cm2 making it ideal for CubeSats. All components are radiation-tolerant up to 100 krad(Si) TID, making it a good fit for the emerging CubeSat and SmallSat markets, as well as for deep space probe and autonomous spacecraft missions. 

The Reference Design provides all functionality necessary to enable rapid development of a configurable space computing platform including: design files, a power consumption calculator, radiation, part stress and worst case analyses. In addition, Cobham’s OBC Reference Design features extensive software support including; board support package, boot software, peripheral drivers and a path for software validation.  The reference design can be leveraged on its own or easily interface to a broader system that includes an FPGA.

 

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