Actel Qualifies RT ProASIC3 FPGA Family for Space Flight Systems

Reaffirming its leadership in the space market, Actel Corporation (Nasdaq: ACTL) announced the first fully qualified flash based FPGAs for space flight applications. Actel’s RT ProASIC®3 family successfully passed the extensive testing required for MIL-STD-883 Class B qualification. Building on its 17 year heritage and leadership of providing antifuse FPGAs for system critical applications, Actel ushers in a new paradigm in the space market with the qualification of its flash-based RT ProASIC3 devices.

The RT ProASIC3 FPGA family provides designers of spaceflight systems with reprogrammability for easy prototyping and design validation, while at the same time offering critical immunity to radiation induced configuration upsets. The new devices are based on the proven ProASIC3 flash architecture and are offered in two sizes. The 600,000 gate RT3PE600L and the three million gate RT3PE3000L are both offered in ceramic column grid array, ceramic land grid array, and ceramic quad flat-pack packages. RT ProASIC3 FPGAs can operate at a core voltage variable between 1.2 V for low power applications and 1.5 V for performance-driven designs.

The Flash Advantage
Unlike SRAM-based FPGAs and ASICs, Actel’s RT ProASIC3 family uses flash cells to store configuration information, presenting unique opportunities and advantages to designers of spaceflight electronic hardware, including:

  • Reprogrammable flash cells
    Allow the designer to change the design of the FPGA without removing the FPGA from the board, making prototyping easier. The flash cells also enable in-flight reprogrammability, thereby extending mission life by re-purposing the hardware to incorporate updated algorithms. In addition to the benefits of reprogrammability, FPGAs inherently have zero NRE costs and offer fast time to market compared with ASICs.
  • Non-volatile flash cells
    Flash-based FPGAs are standalone devices that enable code storage on-chip, removing the need for an external configuration device. This significantly reduces board space requirements. In addition, the flash cells do not exhibit single-event upsets in the presence of heavy ion radiation, eliminating the requirement of costly mitigation schemes to protect the design from loss of configuration.

“This milestone begins a new era for FPGAs in spaceflight applications,” said Ken O’Neill, director, high-reliability marketing, Actel Corporation. “The inherent benefits of flash, specifically SEU immunity and reprogrammability for radiation-hardened applications, offer a compelling solution for engineers who are taking their applications into space.”

Availability
Actel’s RT ProASIC3 FPGAs are available in two densities, 600,000 and 3 million system gates, giving designers the opportunity to integrate medium or large-size designs into a single-chip solution. For further information, please contact Actel.

About Actel
Actel is the leader in low power FPGAs and mixed signal FPGAs, offering the most comprehensive portfolio of system and power management solutions.