BAE Systems has leveraged the superior semiconductor networking capabilities of Integrated Device Technology, Inc. (IDT) to develop a new technology for space applications that will allow greater volumes of data to be transferred at speeds higher than ever before possible during space missions.
The new space-grade microchip, known as the RADNET1848-PS space-grade RapidIO switch, will use IDT’s RapidIO interconnect technology to speed massive amounts of data through a network of radiation-hardened computer systems in outer space.
Space missions involving Big Data collection, processing and analysis require a great deal of computing power where numerous data processors must be connected together so they can pass and share information. But if the devices that connect the processors are unable to move the data quickly and keep pace with the speed of the processors, then the entire process lags, resulting in significantly delayed data collection and analysis. Using IDT’s technology, the new RapidIO switches provide ultra-low-latency between processors, meaning very little lag time and heightened efficiency. The switches also scale easily to add additional connections as needed.
To withstand the extremely harsh operating conditions of space, the RapidIO technology underwent the process of radiation hardening, in which electronic components and systems are rendered resistant to damage or malfunctions caused by radiation encountered in outer space.
Coupling IDT’s RapidIO capabilities with BAE Systems’ expertise in providing advanced, high-reliability rad-hard electronics for civil, commercial, and national security space missions results in the first space-grade microprocessing system capable of managing Big Data missions. Space missions will now be able to quickly conduct more on-b0ard processing of data from multiple types of sensor systems – which means that relevant data will be identified and analyzed more quickly than previously possible.
“With more complex sensors being introduced into space missions, BAE Systems recognized the need to develop microchips that can handle the related increase in larger-volume data transfer, and with IDT’s technology, we have accomplished that goal,” said Ian McDonald, director of Space Products and Processing at BAE Systems. “These types of advances will provide the mission critical, high performance networking connectivity necessary for the next generations of high performance space systems for military, commercial, and civil applications – and possibly even high energy physics systems.”
Understanding these challenges – and that failure is not an option, we have developed a large portfolio of trusted and reliable rad-hard products to operate successfully in these severe environments – which will now include the RapidIO switch. To date, we have provided more than 750 computers across 250 satellites, accumulating more than 7,000 years of flight heritage.