Searching for rad tolerant, non-volatile (once programmable) FPGA (or CPLD).

I'm looking for a rad-tolerant, non-volatile (preferably programmable at once) FPGA or CPLD, for a new project (a satellite instrument).

After searching the Web, I've found out that Actel manufactures micro antifuse FPGAs. These would be fine, but I would like to know if are there any other alternatives besides Actel FPGAs.

The device should have around 2500 user gates or more.

Reliability is a concern to us, and availability of a similar or equivalent, in System Programmable (ISP), part would be a plus.

Any single chip solution (preferably non-reprogrammable, to avoid unintentional program changes, due to radiation) would be fine, including CPLDs.

P.S: ASICs (Field Gate Arrays) would be OK, provided it cost less than US$10,000.00 and takes less than a month or two to be fabricated. In case we opt for an ASIC, only around 3-5 units would be produced.

If you are willing to help, you can e-mail me directly: maaf _att_ (replace the _att_ by an @)

Best Regards, Marcio

--------------------------------------------------- Marcio Afonso Arimura Fialho Junior Electronic Engineer DEA - Divisão de Eletrônica Aeroespacial INPE - Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (Brazilian National Institute for Space Research).

Reply to
Marcio A. A. Fialho
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Since Xilinx stopped manufacturing such fpgas, I know no alternative fpga supplier for Actel. You could of course contact Xilinx to see if a reprogramable device is suitable for you.

What to you mean with "user gates"? 2input-NAND? 4 input LUT When an RH1020 is to small you need an RT54SX32S. But be aware, there's currently a relability problem when using the RT54SX-S devices.

When using the 5V IO, you will have trouble finding a reprogrammable equivalent.

I know no alternative when spending 30-50k$ for that number. AFAIK there are Actel fpgas above 10k$ per device.

Reply to
Thomas Stanka

Hmmm... have you checked the prices of rad hard parts? You might be in for a rude shock, even with Actel FPGAs.

Reply to
Duane Clark

I mean 2 input-NAND.

Does anyone knows if Actel still manufactures obsolete and legacy rad-hard (or rad-tolerant) parts like RT1460A or RT54SX16 ? I think these parts would suit or needs. I will ask Actel about this.

What reliability problem is this related to the RT54SX-S devices? Does this reliability problem affects RTSX-SU devices? Actel told me that RT54SX-X and RTSX-SU are based in the same design. The difference is that RT54SX-X parts are manufactured by MEC and RT54SX-SU are produced at UMC.

3.3V FPGA would be fine.

It seems that an ASIC is indeed very expensive. Anyone has a value for the cheapest rad-tolerant ASICs (around 1k 2input NAND-gates) ?

Best Regards, Marcio.

Reply to
Marcio A. A. Fialho

I know of an engineer at NASA who works with rad-hard parts. He has posted here in the past, but I have not heard from him lately. From an old post his email address is


Obviously remove the NOSPAMPLEASE

His name is Rick Katz, IIRC. I was going to do a little work for him once, but our schedules did not work out. He seems like a very nice guy and I am sure he would be happy to adivse you or point you to some sources. If he is swamped when you contact him, don't let that put you off. Just try again in a couple of weeks or so.

Rick "rickman" Collins
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rickman (Marcio A. A. Fialho) wrote

At least there should be devices deliverabel. Never tried to get one of them, but RH1020 are still in stock (RT1020 are out of order).

There's a problem due to the possibility of having weak fuses which might increase the delay of a path in your design. This antifuse might be stable for up to 2100h before showing this delay. Try starting with to get more details, as this problem is very new, there are a lot of "uncertain" informations.

No, only the availability of UMC-Parts *g*.

Yes thats right. The basic difference is that UMC-Parts use an other fuse design. A second point is, that the inrush-current issue due to power cycling is solved in UMC-parts.

Well the price depends on many factors like quantity, flow and so on. The cheapest device suitable for long term missions should be the RH1020 with ~2000 NAND2-gates. The RT54SX32S device in B-Flow should be quite cheaper, in E-Flow a bit more expensive than the RH1020.

bye Thomas

Reply to
Thomas Stanka

I knew a Nasa engineer who also designed satellite instruments, he was personally horified at the idea of FPGAs rushing into space, but I am sure I heard that the mars missions had them anyway.

Search google groups for past posts on this.

Perhaps they get reconfigured regular to limit soft changes.

If it wasn't for the rad hard issue and your schedule I'd suggest using something like the MOSIS or EUROPRACTICE shuttle services and do a small ASIC. The cost sharing on an old technology device would give you low cost in a few months and the performance would certainly match FPGA. Ask them about RAD as well.

regards johnjakson_usa_com

Reply to
john jakson


Yes, the Mars Mission Landers' uses scrubbing once every 12 hours. No redundancy. Turns out SEU's on Mars are not a big deal. Not as bad as even here on earth! 12 V1000's per rover. Controls wheels and some arm functions (or so I'm told).

The lander FPGA that fired the squibs for the parachute was a different matter: fully TMR AND scrubbed continuously (reprograms while operating). It also had three processors that were voting on the firing

-- and if they failed to instruct, the FPGA would take over (or so I'm told).

Applications in space have outgrown the fuse technology FPGAs (they are just too small), and Xilinx FPGAs are being applied like crazy to space missions.

And our FPGAs have no 'power on surge', no funny long term fuse failure issues, and have well behaved IO's on power up and down (they stay tristate).

I am told that the next Mars lander walks around faster than a person does due to increased compute power from our newest FPGAs (rather than crawling about at a snail's pace). That is how much more power there is from Virtex 1000 .22 micron to Virtex II Pro 130 nanometer 2VP100 (roughly ten times the logic, at four times the speed, not to mention the 405PPC, etc.).

Our Mil/Aero/Automotive Group handles all the work for this area.

Did you know that under the hood of a car is a more hostile environment than low earth orbit? (totally random interjection)

Fully triple modular redundant designs are now trivial to do with the Xilinx XTMR tool. Select those modules that you wish to triplicate, and after your design is done, tested, and verified, XTMR it, and do a final verification.

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The remaining issue is single event functional interrupts (SEFI) which are upsets that reset the entire device. The cross section for that single point failure is very tiny, but for space applications (and others) all single points of failure must be accounted for (even if they are a once in a million year event).

All devices (ASIC, FPGA, uC) will have some SEFI cross section, as there is at least one node somewhere that when hit will upset the whole design (like the reset line).

Contact one of our Mil/Aero/Automotive FAE experts to get all the details.


Reply to
Austin Lesea

Depends if the engine's running or not and whether you're wearing a spacesuit or not.

Reply to

Actel has more space experience than any other FPGA. If you want non-volatile, and the features fit your application, then Actel is the way to go. Rich Katz is a good resource. Also, you'd do well to review the proceedings from the MAPLD conferences. That conference is heavy on space application of FPGAs.

For John Jacks> (Marcio A. A. Fialho) wrote


--Ray Andraka, P.E. President, the Andraka Consulting Group, Inc.

401/884-7930 Fax 401/884-7950 email
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"They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -Benjamin Franklin, 1759

Reply to
Ray Andraka

I just found this in my in box...

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Aeroflex is a company that seems to take other company's products and building them for military and aerospace applications. They are making an industrial version of the Hynix ARM chip along with this FPGA which is apparently a hardened Quicklogic device.

Rick "rickman" Collins
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