Highest performance space grade microprocessor ever produced

Paul Boughton

High reliability silicon specialist e2v has launched the first QML Y GHz-class microprocessor certified for use in space, writes Nick Flaherty.

The PC7448 is a radiation tolerant microprocessor based on a Power Architecture e600 core which runs up to 1267MHz. It embeds an AltiVec SIMD engine, which allows the processor to deliver close to 10Gflop performance at full speed. 

e2v’s space qualified version of this device targets computer intensive payload applications such as image processing on-board Earth observation and weather monitoring satellites, and data processing on Synthetic-Aperture Radar (SAR) and telecommunication satellites.

With space applications demanding ever higher processing performance, at the highest available quality grade, e2v is manufacturing PC7448 in accordance with the new MIL-PRF-38535 Class Y (QML Y) standard, guaranteeing best in class reliability.

PC7448 also features a Dynamic Frequency Switching (DFS) mode, which delivers a reduction in power consumption when using the processor at lower frequencies (down to 300 MHz). This makes it suitable for various command and control applications, for example launch vehicle booster controllers, which require mid-range processing capabilities.

Engineering and Qualification Models (EQM) and space Flight Models (FM) are now available to order from e2v’s space qualified PC7448 manufacturing facility. Engineering and Qualification Models are available now, with Flight Model deliveries expected in the first half of 2015.