SmallSat Express launch to study, among other things, rad-hard ICs in sun-synchronous orbit

VANDENBURG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. Among the payloads brought to space on the Spaceflight Industries/SpaceX SmallSat Express launch on December 3 were nine radation-hardened CMOS silicon die from Vorago Technologies.

Rad-hard Vorago microcontroller and SRAM memory devices will be studied in the second phase of a science study; the payload containing the devices is sponsored by Air Force Research Laboratory and hosted on the STPSat-5 experiment payload by the Air Force Space and Missile System Center Space Test Payload group and NASA. The electronics module was developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and built by the COSMIAC Research Center at the University of New Mexico.

In the first phase of the experiment, the same nine rad-hard CMOS die were sent to the International Space Station where they have been working as expected since February 2016. The experiment -- now being repeated in sun-synchronous orbit -- is an attempt to study the frequency and effect of high-energy particle strikes on CMOS memory devices in space.

“We are delighted to continue our participation in this important science experiment,” said Bernd Lienhard, chief executive officer of Vorago Technologies. “Our products have proved to operate very effectively in orbit and we are continuing to build upon our successful flight heritage of HARDSIL-based products”.

December 3 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base as part of the "Spaceflight SSO-A: SmallSat Express" mission. Photo: Len Wood/courtesy of the Lompoc (CA) Record.