NASA supports various requirements ranging from science missions, space station, and deep space missions requiring high-performance computing and controls. Interplanetary and long term low Earth orbit systems require radiation tolerances capable of ensuring that the on-board electronics outlast the life expectancy of the systems. These demanding requirements of radiation tolerance and harsh operating environments force satellite systems developers to consider capabilities that are uniquely optimized for their applications. The Structured ASIC solves the dilemma of balancing performance, cost, risk and time to deployment against alternative solutions. Scalable, high performance control systems can support a wide range of applications when integrated circuit flexibility is available. The ability to right-size integrated circuits while adding functional blocks, such as a DDR3 SRAM memory interface, while maintaining performance at low cost, enables NASA to use this technology across a wide range of programs and applications. NASA programs and missions that could benefit include the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) mission, Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO), BOReal Ecosystem Atmosphere Study (BOREAS) and the Methane Trace Gas Sounder. Longer term missions include lunar landers and orbiters, Mars missions (MAVEN), solar system exploration (e.g. Titan, Juno, Europa, comet nucleus return, New Discovery, and Living with a Star (LWS)).
Companies that deploy satellites for purposes similar to NASA's Earth-centric applications will greatly benefit by gaining access to the advanced 32nm Silicon on Insulator (SOI) CMOS process technology in a cost efficient manner. There are a number of applications that require this kind of performance within military, intelligence and commercial satellites, which are showing growing demand in units deployed and performance. The 2014 FAA Commercial Space Transportation Forecasts predict that an average of seventy eight commercial payloads will be launched annually over the next decade. A reasonable estimate of the number of classified military and intelligence payloads at least equals the commercial deployments. Micro-RDC currently offers a 90nm CMOS platform, 50MHz Radiation-Hardened-By-Design (RHBD) Structured ASICs capable of handling low to mid-range control and compute requirements in space. The 32nm SOI CMOS platform will increase to 300MHz, and will greatly improve densities and processing speed, including the ability to add DDR3 SRAM memory. This type of memory will enhance functionality for computing applications and peripheral functions such as sensors, actuators, image capture and processing subsystems.