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Center Independent Research & Development: GSFC IRAD

Dependable RISC-V Soft-Core Processor Investigation for SpaceCube v3.0 Mini

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

The objective of this project is to investigate RISC-V soft-core processors and demonstrate their capability for flight by integrating them into the SpaceCube v3.0 Mini (SC3-Mini), which features a Xilinx UltraScale FPGA. With complex, next-gen sensors producing ever-increasing volumes of data, there is a growing need for high-performance, reliable onboard processing capabilities that the SC3-Mini offers to provide data reduction/compression, onboard product generation, automated health and status monitoring, etc. However, the proprietary MicroBlaze soft-core processor traditionally used on SC3-Mini has significant limitations due to its antiquated architecture, restricted configurability, and limited adoption in industry. Therefore, this project aims to explore open-source RISC-V soft-core processor implementations, which can leverage a widely-adopted and growing hardware/software ecosystem that is able to construct highly configurable processors to meet the variety of mission requirements.

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