Press Release

Actel Ships Fully Qualified RTAX-S FPGAs to Meet High-Reliability Needs of Space Designs

By SpaceRef Editor
July 6, 2005
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Actel’s Antifuse FPGAs Provide Flexible, Cost-Effective, SEU-Immune Alternative to Radiation-Hardened ASICs

Actel Corporation today announced it is shipping fully qualified RTAX-S field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) to customers developing high- reliability space-flight systems. The RTAX-S family ranges in density from 250,000 to two million equivalent system gates and meets the performance and radiation-resistance requirements of satellite bus and payload applications. The RTAX-S family offers sufficient density and features to enable designers to take advantage of the flexibility of FPGAs, thereby freeing designers from the front-end cost and schedule constraints that currently plague radiation-hardened application-specific integrated circuit (RH-ASIC) solutions. Further, unlike SRAM-based FPGAs, the single-chip RTAX250S, RTAX1000S and RTAX2000S devices have proven immunity to single-event upsets (SEUs) and require no radiation mitigation techniques.

“Reliability is the number one requirement for devices used at the heart of mission-critical applications. Due to the rising cost of developing RH- ASICs, the need for dependable FPGAs in the space-flight market is growing exponentially,” said Ravi Pragasam, senior manager, military and aerospace product marketing at Actel. “Offering SEU immunity, usable error-corrected onboard RAM, proven reliability at extreme temperatures and live at power-up functionality on a single chip, RTAX-S devices give designers the ability to reduce component count, minimize power consumption and save board space and weight while meeting the density and performance requirements of space systems.”

The RTAX-S devices have already been designed into several mission-critical military and aerospace systems. For example, Maxwell Technologies has applied the RTAX2000S devices to its SCS750 Super Computer for Space.

According to Larry Longden, senior director, marketing and technology, Maxwell Technologies, “For space systems, we apply our proprietary component shielding technology and novel system-level architecture to ensure our systems are reliable and able to withstand the effects of solar flares and other environmental radiation. The SEU-immune Actel RTAX-S devices provide unparalleled reliability in extreme conditions as well as the robust feature set and density we need to accomplish our aggressive design goals. Further, Actel’s long-standing reputation for delivering high-quality solutions for space applications made selecting the RTAX-S devices an easy decision.”

Proven SEU Immunity Provides Peace of Mind

The RTAX-S family incorporates SEU-hardened flip flops, providing a cost-sensitive design solution by eliminating the need to implement triple-module redundancy (TMR). The devices offer inherent single-event latch-up (SEL) immunity greater than 104MeV-cm2/mg; immunity to SEUs with an LET threshold far greater than 37MeV-cm2/mg; and total ionizing dose (TID) performance of up to 200 Krads parametric. The family also features embedded RAM with an upset rate of <1E-10 errors/bit-day with error detection and correction (EDAC) IP and an integrated SRAM scrubber.

RTAX-S Family Highlights

The RTAX-S family builds on Actel’s high-performance, antifuse-based AX architecture to deliver a highly reliable ASIC alternative for mission-critical space applications to perform functions such as command and data handling, attitude and orbit control, and management of spacecraft power and environmental controls. In addition, the RTAX-S family offers external performance of 350 MHz, proven reliability at extreme temperatures and space-ready package options, including CCGA, LGA and CQFP, as well as global clocks to facilitate easy routing.

The RTAX2000S offers two million equivalent system gates (250,000 ASIC gates), 684 user I/Os and 288K of core RAM. The RTAX1000S features one million equivalent system gates (125,000 ASIC gates), 516 user I/Os and 162K of core RAM. The third device in the family, the RTAX250S, offers 250,000 equivalent system gates (30,000 ASIC gates), 248 user I/Os and 54K of core RAM.

RTAX-S Tools and Support

Actel offers a comprehensive suite of design tools optimized for the RTAX-S devices. The Libero Integrated Design Environment (IDE) includes best-in-class tools from Mentor Graphics, Magma Design Automation, SynaptiCAD and Synplicity integrated into a single development package. Actel also offers complete prototyping support for the RTAX-S devices to enable board-level functional verification and simulation. Actel’s RTAX-S software solution includes support for the EDAC intellectual property (IP) block that can be used to mitigate SEUs in the user memory. An application note explaining how to design with RTAX-S devices, “RTAX-S Radiation-Tolerant Features and Mitigation Techniques,” is available at .

Further, in response to industry needs for reliability data beyond the standard MIL-STD 883B process flow, Actel has established an additional Enhanced Antifuse Qualification (EAQ) step that includes lifetime testing at varying high-temperature and low-temperature conditions using a complex design to provide test data that validates the robust nature of programmed RTAX-S devices.

NSREC Reception to Highlight Qualification

Actel will highlight the RTAX-S qualification during its reception at the 2005 Nuclear and Space Radiation Effects Conference (NSREC) on July 14, 2005 in Seattle, Wash. The reception will also include a keynote address by Actel CEO and president John East. To register for this event, please visit .

Pricing and Availability

The three RTAX-S devices are currently available in volume, with prices starting at $3,580 each in quantities of 100 for the RTAX250S B flow. For further information about pricing and availability, please contact Actel.

About Actel

Actel Corporation is a supplier of innovative programmable logic solutions, including FPGAs based on antifuse and flash technologies, high-performance IP cores, software development tools and design services, targeted for the high-speed communications, ASIC replacement and radiation-tolerant markets. Founded in 1985, Actel employs more than 500 people worldwide. The Company is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol ACTL and is headquartered at 2061 Stierlin Court, Mountain View, CA, 94043-4655. Telephone: 888-99-ACTEL (992-2835). Internet: .

NOTE: The Actel name and logo and Libero are registered trademarks of Actel Corporation. All other trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners.

SpaceRef staff editor.