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Date: 26th July 2011

Radiation hardened space-grade Virtex-5QV FPGA from Xilinx in production volumes

Xilinx Inc. has announced that its radiation-hardened-by-design space-grade Virtex-5QV FPGA is available in production with greater than 1Mrad(Si) Total Ionizing Dose (TID) capabilities for supporting the broadest range of space borne missions from low-earth orbit and beyond. Xilinx says the Virtex-5QV device is the first of its kind reprogrammable Single-Event-Upset (SEU) hardened FPGA specifically designed to withstand the harshest radiation environments so that design teams can shorten time-to-launch from years to months by using an off-the-shelf solution for building complex, high-performance space systems that can be reprogrammed and updated even after launch.

"NASA has a history of firsts when it comes to space exploration. We are excited that NASA's Earth Science Technology Office, in partnership with the ELaNa-3 CubeSat Launch Program, is sponsoring the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Michigan to be the first to fly a production Virtex-5QV FPGA as the time-to-launch has been significantly reduced by utilizing an off-the-shelf, reprogrammable, rad-hard device," said Harvey Steele Jr., Xilinx Vice President, Segment Marketing and Business Operations. "Passing the Mega-rad barrier in TID surpassed even our own expectations and leaves the door wide open for Virtex-5QV devices to provide reprogrammability and high-performance for a broad range of missions in defense, commercial and space exploration."

The other features of this device explained by Xilinx:

The rad-hard features inherent in Virtex-5QV devices are backed by the highest levels of in-beam testing by the Xilinx Radiation Test Consortium (XRTC) and equivalent to millions of device years in space radiation environments. This means Virtex-5QV FPGAs provide exceptional protection against SEU, Total Immunity to Single-Event Latchup (SEL), high tolerance to TID, as well as data path protection from Single-Event Transients (SET). For example, the Virtex-5QV FPGA configuration memory provides nearly 1,000 times the SEU hardness of the standard cell latches in the commercial device, while configuration control logic and the JTAG controller have been hardened with embedded triple module redundancy.

Typical systems until now have either relied on one-time-programmable (OTP) solutions with reduced performance or long lead-time, high non-recurring engineering (NRE) ASICs. Systems such as satellite communications networks, increased security for powerful defensive systems and new frontiers in space exploration will be within reach as a direct result of the unique combination of features that the Virtex-5QV FPGA provides.

Xilinx also shared the below customer comments on this product:
"We have anticipated the need for the Virtex-5QV FPGA for next generation space systems in defense applications," said Craig Purcell, Advanced Global Communications Program Director at Lockheed Martin Space Systems. "To improve affordability and flexibility of our space systems, we are currently engaged in substantive efforts to insert space qualified FPGA reconfigurable technology into future missions."

"Having successfully flown the previous generation Virtex-4QV FPGA in the critical docking systems for the Orion program, we are evaluating the rad-hard Virtex-5QV device for our next designs utilizing the programmability and integration possibilities, which reduce mission risk significantly," said Rick Higgins, Manager, Ball Aerospace Electronics Product Center.

Xilinx 7 series FPGA
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