UNITED STATES: Future lunar and planetary exploration missions will use a new High-Performance Spaceflight Computing (HPSC) processor that has been designed and developed by Microchip Technology Inc.
For the next three years, Microchip will “architect, design, and deliver (Opens in a new window)” the new processor under a $50 million firm-fixed-price contract. The objective is to develop a microprocessor that has 100 times the computational power of the current NASA
spaceflight computers while also providing significant reliability and fault tolerance enhancements.
Under a $50 million firm-fixed-price deal, Microchip will “architect, design, and deliver” the new processor over the following three years. The goal is to create a microprocessor with 100 times the processing power of the present NASA spaceflight computers, as well as much improved reliability and fault tolerance.
A technologist for advanced avionics said, “Our current spacecraft computers were created over 30 years ago.” Additionally, the current technology was overdesigned to “address the most computationally-intensive component of a mission,” which resulted in inefficiencies. For instance, a contemporary CPU architecture that can turn off specific functions while not in use can significantly increase power efficiency.
Babak Samimi, corporate vice president for Microchip’s Communications business segment, said, “We are thrilled that NASA selected Microchip as its partner to build the next-generation space-qualified compute processor platform.”We are collaborating with NASA to fund the development of a new trustworthy computing platform.”
The new processor, according to NASA, will be used for a variety of tasks, such as Earth science endeavours, Mars exploration, and mission-critical edge computing for commercial systems here on Earth.
The semiconductor that Microchip creates is said to have applications in industrial automation, edge computing, time-sensitive Ethernet data transmission, and artificial intelligence.