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  • Satellite Evolution Group

Alpha Data launches breakthrough development kit enabling rapid deployment of space data processing

Alpha Data has ushered in a new era of rapid deployment of adaptable data processing in space with the launch of its groundbreaking ADK-VA601 Versal™ AI Core Development Kit for Space 2.0.

The development kit, which comprises a fully radiation tolerant reference design in a deployable VPX format, will enable space designers to rapidly develop the next generation of adaptable processors in space. The core board of the kit will also be available in a deployable spaceflight version.

The ADK-VA601 is an adaptive System on Module (SoM) capable of on-board processing (OBP) and on-orbit reconfiguration, offering the potential for multi-sensor data fusion, capacity growth, and the convergence of ground and space networks. It will be available in the first quarter of 2024.

Alpha Data's ADK-VA601 is designed to align with the on-orbit processing and modular standards of the space market to reduce time to deployment and bring high-performance digital processing into orbit payloads. These payloads range from high-resolution optical and radar imagery to machine learning, artificial intelligence, and multi-sensor data fusion.

Created in collaboration with industry giants AMD, Texas Instruments, EPC Space and Teledyne e2v, the ADK-VA601 provides a fully radiation tolerant reference design in 220mm 6U Space VPX format. It builds on the ADK-VA600 which began shipping earlier this year and introduced the AMD XQR Versal AI Core VC1902 Adaptive System-on-Chip to the Space community.

David Miller, Managing Director, commented: “We’re offering this as a complete development kit but in an already deployable format which makes it more relevant to customers and streamlines the adaptation process for specific mission requirements. The industry is moving from custom hardware towards modular standards that enable shorter design cycles and cost reduction. End users may still want to do some fine tuning and customization, but if 90 percent of the work has already been done by us they can get to space much quicker. That’s the core concept behind this product.”

ADK-VA601 leverages the capabilities of industry leading components. As well as the AMD Versal Adaptive SoC at the heart of the module, it includes a fully radiation tolerant power solution with ground-breaking 160A core power supply from Texas Instruments and EPC Space, and high performance rad-tolerant DDR4 memory from Teledyne e2v.

The board also boasts a front panel VITA 57.4 FMC+ interface, enabling expansion capabilities and customization. An accompanying VPX Rear Transition Module enhances I/O flexibility, system monitoring, test access, and target scrubbing features. Designed to align with emerging standards, the 220mm high 6U Space VPX form factor ensures seamless transitions from lab development to deployment in extreme space environments, allowing space designers an accelerated path to flight-ready hardware.

“Alpha Data’s collaborative approach once again brings together a compelling selection of components in the space ecosystem to create a full solution for the next generation of on-orbit processing, with AMD Versal Adaptive SoC at its core,” said Ken O’Neill, Space Systems Architect, AMD. “The integration into a 6U VPX form factor with embedded power and memory provides designers with opportunities to accelerate development timelines and demonstrate flight hardware sooner.”

With a heritage stretching back to 1993, Alpha Data is continuing its journey as an industry-leading provider of FPGA-based acceleration boards and vanguard in the move to modular standard solutions for on-orbit processing.

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