- Laurence Russell
CAES’ quad core LEON4FT processor selected for next-generation on-orbit servicing spacecraft
CAES, a leader in advanced mission-critical electronics for aerospace and defense, has announced that its radiation-hardened microelectronics are on board SpaceLogistics’ Mission Robotic Vehicle (MRV) Spacecraft, and the Mission Extension POD (MEP), which will be deployed to assist in extending the life of aging satellites in space.
The MRV is the second-generation servicing vehicle following the Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV) which was deployed in 2020 to extend the life of aging satellites in orbit. Both vehicles provide life extension services, but the MRV uses robotic arms to add on-orbit augmentation, inspection and repair services.
The MEP is a propulsion augmentation device that is installed by the MRV on a client satellite that is running low on fuel. It uses electronic propulsion to provide orbit control and momentum unloading and extends the life of a typical 2000kg satellite for six years.
CAES’ latest fault-tolerant, quad GR740 (LEON FT processor) will be used in the bus avionics and robotics interface of the MRV and in the POD Avionics of the MEP. The GR740 provides expert processing and control functions in support of avionics as well as precise telemetry and control. This processor was chosen for its multi-core processing capability, low power and peripheral set. The standard interfaces, scalable performance and ease of design enable the addition of even more capability to future missions while maintaining the same basic infrastructure for other designs/products.
“For decades, a wide range of CAES radiation hardened components have been at the forefront of space exploration and research,” said Mike Elias, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Space Systems Division, CAES. “We are excited to see our GR740 processor deployed in keeping satellites in service for much longer than their original mission timelines.”
CAES has a long line of proven LEON technology with a legacy of robustness for use in GEO orbits which pose challenges for electronics due to the tough radiation environment. Along with proven flight history, CAES is known for its expert technical support. Several other CAES radiation-hardened devices are also included on the MRV including transceivers (1553 & CAN), LVDS Crosspoint Switch, Memory, LVDS, Clock driver and logic parts.