How well do FPGAs and “mission-critical” really blend together in space? Very well, according to representatives of the Actel Corporation, whose RTAX1000S-CQ352 FPGA device flew out of the stratosphere at NASA’s Phoenix Mars mission launch at Cape Canaveral Aug. 4. Actel’s RTAX-S FPGA is part of the spacecraft’s Meteorological Station (MET) instrument, designed to gather, process, and send pressure and temperature data back to Earth-stationed researchers. Actel’s high-reliability, high-density RTAX-S family includes 250,000 to 4 million equivalent system gates, along with usable error-corrected onboard memory, Single-Event Upset (SEU) hardened flip-flops, and large amounts of user-defined I/O.
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FPGAs: Up in space
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