Press Release

Space-qualified 3U CompactPCI SBC from Aitech Ready for Orbit

By SpaceRef Editor
June 25, 2014
Filed under , ,

Aitech Defense Systems Inc., a pioneer in true embedded and mission critical computing technologies for environmentally-demanding, mission-critical applications, announces that the SP0 3U CompactPCI SBC has passed final 100 kRad (Si) testing for use in low (LEO) and medium (MEO) orbits and has demonstrated high confidence for geostationary orbits (GEO).

The SP0 was tested at the world-renowned Indiana University Cyclotron Facility (IUCF) that provides proton radiation testing for space exploration programs for NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

The SBC underwent intense radiation testing performed with 200 MeV protons designed to test total ionizing dose (TID) and single event effects (SEE) for particles with linear energy transfer (LET) up to 15 MeV. The measured TID of the SP0 under test easily met the target 100 kRad (Si) with no latch up or performance degradation. 

Product Manager George Romaniuk noted, “The results obtained in qualifying the SP0 were even better than anticipated. To achieve this level of performance in our next gen, space-qualified COTS SBC gives space programs the confidence to incorporate higher levels of on-board functionality into their systems using an exceptionally low power, reliable board.”

The data collected during testing helped determine SEE sensitivity. Based on this information, Aitech calculated that the SP0 will be subject to only one single event functional upset per 1,186 days (3 years and 91 days) during orbit.  This takes into account the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) with the SP0’s L1 and L2 caches enabled. 

Any performance degradation due to SEE mitigation was below the measurement error floor.

The testing has validated the SP0’s reliable operation across a wide range of orbits.  LEO covers 160 km (100 miles) to 2,000 km (1,250 mi); MEO is from 2,000 km (1,250 mi) to approximately 35,000 km (22,000 mi); and GEO is 36,000 km (22,236 mi) and above.

The compact3U SBC provides exceptional on-board functionality combined with a low power consumption of only 10 W.  Using a MPC8548E PowerQUICC-III processor enables a processing speed of 1.17 GHz as well as 333.3 MHz of core complex bus (CCB) and fast DDR1 memory speeds.

The SP0’s processor includes an e500 System-on-Chip (SoC) integrating both an L1 cache with 32 KB instruction and 32 KB data and a 512 KB L2 cache.  A large user Flash of 1 GB is standard, with the option to expand up to 8 GB. 

The large on-board memory also includes up to 512 MB of fast DDR1 SDRAM with ECC protection for high data integrity as well as 512 KB of redundant Boot Flash to meet both processor and application needs.

The SP0 includes extensive I/O, including two Gigabit Ethernet ports, four asynchronous, high-speed serial communications ports and up to five general purpose discrete I/O channels, all of which are routed to the rear panel connectors.  This reduces the number of additional peripheral cards needed for a fully functional subsystem.

For additional on-board functionality and performance, the SP0 includes an industry-standard PMC slot as well as from four to eight PCI Express lanes or four Serial RapidIO lanes and dual PCI buses.

Three watchdog timers offer exceptional system safety parameters and reliability. One watch dog timer, located within the SoC processor, generates an internal CPU interrupt to alert the application of a pending fault.  After the first timer expires and then the second timer expires, a non-maskable hardware reset is performed, which also resets the entire board.  Located in the on-board FPGA, the third timer can reset the whole board or only certain I/O devices after the expiration period. 

Technical Specifications:

  • Tested to 100 kRad (Si) TID; no latch up
  • PowerPC MPC8548E PowerQUICC-III processor
  • e500 SoC with 32 KB instruction/32 KB data L1 cache and 512 KB L2 cache
  • Low power: 10 W consumption
  • Exceptional standard I/O for unlimited design flexibility

For more information please call 888-Aitech-8 (888-248-3248), visit or e-mail

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UPCOMING TRADESHOWS: SmallSat; Booth #51; August 4-7, 2014; Logan, UT

Established in 1983, Aitech offers military and space-qualified, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) embedded computing products for rugged defense, aerospace and astronautics (space) applications as well as provides radiation tolerant and full MIL-SPEC solutions. 

The company provides industry-standard, open architecture VMEbus, CompactPCI and high speed serial fabric-based boards, power subsystems, mass memory, enclosures and hardware subsystem integration along with logistics, configuration control, component obsolescence and earned-value management services.

Having pioneered the development of true military VMEbus products for use in mainstream defense and aerospace applications, Aitech utilizes its broad base of off-the-shelf products and technologies to also develop customer-specific solutions, deliver superior cost-performance and reliability, and expedite time to market. 

Applications for its products range from mission processors, fire control, mission control and autonomous robotic subsystems for ground vehicles as well as surface and subsurface naval platforms to tactical and strategic fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, and low- to high-earth orbit and deep space vehicles.

Editorial Contact:
The Simon Group, Inc.
Beth Smith or Christina Sanchez
Phone: (215) 453-8700

SpaceRef staff editor.