Expanded radiation-hardened Arm MCU family for space systems

Microchip Technology has announced the qualification of its SAMRH71 Arm-based MPU and the availability of the SAMRH707 MCU, both implementing Arm Cortex-M7 SoC radiation-hardened 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.”

These devices were developed with the support of the ESA and CNES, the French space agency, to further research and program initiatives.

“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 digital-to-analog converters and analog-to-digital converters together with a powerful processor core is a key requirement for addressing new challenges in aerospace applications,” said Kostas Marinis, Onboard Computers Engineer at ESA. “With the SAMRH707, Microchip provides easy-to-use capabilities in cost-effective, radiation-hardened MCUs.”

Relying on the standard Arm Cortex-M7 architecture and the same peripherals as automotive and industrial processors, the devices offer system development cost and schedule optimisation by using standard software and hardware tools from the consumer devices.

To speed system design, developers may utilise the SAMRH71F20-EK and SAMRH707F18-EK evaluation boards. The company’s full ecosystem supports these space processors and incorporates MPLAB Harmony tools suite and third-party software services for space applications.