Press Release

Actel’s RTSX-S FPGAs Selected for Herschel and Planck Scientific Space Missions

By SpaceRef Editor
July 15, 2003
Filed under , ,

Company Contributes More Than 200 Devices to Space Investigation – Largest Ever Use of Actel FPGAs in European Space Program

Actel Corporation
announced today that its RTSX-S radiation-tolerant field-programmable gate
arrays (FPGAs) have been selected for extensive use on the Herschel and Planck
space probes, which are scheduled for launch by the European Space Agency
(ESA) in 2007. The Herschel and Planck probes will study infrared radiation
and cosmic background radiation, respectively. The RT54SX32S and RT54SX72S
parts will be used for many flight-critical functions on the space
explorations, including interfacing and control, co-processing and data
handling, as well as mission-critical functions within various scientific

Actel’s RTSX-S FPGAs were also chosen by Systems Engineering & Assessment
Ltd. (SEA) of Bath, United Kingdom, for SEA’s cooler drive processor, which
requires resistance to single-event upsets (SEUs) and tolerance to total
ionizing dose (TID). Incorporated in the high-frequency instrument (HFI) on
the Planck space probe, the circuit maintains the radiation measuring and
cooling equipment at a constant temperature of -269 degrees Celsius.

Alan Senior, principal consultant at SEA, commented, “Because we could not
risk any upsets to the cooler drive processor, the Actel RT54SX32S FPGAs met
our requirements exactly and the required TID performance was easily achieved.
Further, the device’s SEU-hardened flip-flops were vital for storing important
status and control bits in the system. In addition, we had to make some late
adjustments to the FPGA design and I/O definition, and we were confident that
the Actel part would re-route easily, preventing the need for a printed
circuit board re-spin.”

“Shipping to European space programs since early 2001, the RTSX-S FPGAs
have received remarkable acceptance. Further, with more than 200 Actel
devices onboard, the Herschel and Planck missions mark the largest ever use of
Actel FPGAs on a European space program,” explained Joe Wells, aerospace
business development manager, Actel Europe. “We believe these designs are the
result of our commitment to be a key player in space technology and we hope
the addition of the recently announced high-density RTAX-S family to our space
offerings will enable future design successes and breakthroughs in space.”

About the RTSX-S Family

The RTSX-S family ranges in density from 32,000 to 72,000 typical gates
(16,000 to 36,000 equivalent ASIC gates) and offers system performance in
excess of 250 MHz. Actel’s RTSX-S family is the industry’s first FPGA
solution built on a foundation of hardened latches, which eliminates the need
for triple-module redundancy (TMR). Traditional FPGAs, which do not use
hardened latches, force the user to implement TMR using software or a large
portion of the device’s programmable logic. This process of majority voting,
or redundancy, means that up to two-thirds of the density, or available logic,
is consumed for redundancy and isn’t available for the user’s design.

About the RTAX-S Family

With densities up to 2-million equivalent system gates (approximately
250,000 ASIC equivalent gates), the space-optimized, single-chip RTAX-S
devices provide inherent single-event latchup (SEL) immunity; >37MeV-cm2/mg
SEU capability; and total ionizing dose (TID) performance in excess of 200
Krads. The recently announced family also features embedded RAM with an upset
rate of <1E-10 errors/bit-day with error detection and correction (EDAC).
These features position the RTAX-S family, which is based on the AX
architecture and scalable platform, as the only viable radiation-tolerant
alternative to application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) that meets the
density, performance and radiation-resistance requirements of many satellite

About SEA

The SEA Group is a systems and software house with wide-ranging system and
product development, systems engineering and software capabilities. SEA’s
clients are blue-chip organizations principally in the marine, space,
battlespace and transport domains, where the objective is to apply advanced
technology to the solution of customers’ most challenging problems. The
company’s address is SEA (Group) Ltd, Beckington Castle, PO Box 800, Frome,
BA11 6TB, United Kingdom. Tel +44(0)1373 852 000. Internet .

About Actel

Actel Corporation is a supplier of innovative programmable logic
solutions, including field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) based on antifuse
and flash technologies, high-performance intellectual property (IP) cores,
software development tools and design services, targeted for the high-speed
communications, application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) replacement and
radiation-tolerant markets. Founded in 1985, Actel employs approximately 500
people worldwide. The Company is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under
the symbol ACTL and is headquartered at 955 East Arques Avenue, Sunnyvale,
Calif., 94086-4533. Telephone: 888-99-ACTEL (992-2835). Internet: .

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

SpaceRef staff editor.