August 2018- Scottish space software company Bright Ascension Ltd have developed software to support a radiation hardened computer chip (RH-OBC-1) designed by Texas-based Hi-Tech company VORAGO Technologies. The Onboard Computer (OBC) has been designed as a plug-and-play component for CubeSats orbiting in high radiation environments. Radiation hardening of components allows Cubestats to orbit further from the Earth than a traditional mission as it mitigates the disruptive effects of radiation on electrical components.

The RH-OBC-1 is now supported by Bright Ascension’s Flight Software Development Kit (FSDK). The FSDK allows users to build flight software out of pre-existing and pre-validated components to create a flight software package which is tailored to the exact requirements of each unique mission.
Ross Bannatyne from VORAGO Technologies commented “We are looking forward to offering this advanced capability to our customers and we are always looking for ways to provide more value to our customers. Having Bright Ascension support for the RH-OBC-1 allows our customers to focus more energy on the mission at hand, rather than worrying about integration and compatibility issues”.

Integrating radiation-hardened components allows CubeSats to operate further from the Earth as the components are designed to mitigate the effects of radiation which can disrupt operation or destroy CMOS semiconductors.

The RH-OBC-1 incorporates ICs and circuits that are designed to operate in environments of extreme radiation. The OBC is based upon the VORAGO Technologies VA10820 ARM® Cortex®-M0 microcontroller, a radiation-hardened low-power device that supported with the ARM development ecosystem and is gaining popularity in many CubeSat designs.

Vorago Technologies

VORAGO Technologies is a privately held, high-technology company based in Austin, TX with patented and proven solutions that enable electronics systems for extreme temperature and radiation environments. Semiconductor device operation in an extreme radiation environment is enabled by the use of VORAGO’s HARDSIL® technology. HARDSIL uses standard manufacturing equipment with no negative impact on performance or yields. This approach is a highly cost-effective and fast alternative to conventional rad-hard by design (RHBD) techniques, specialized wafer fabrication processes, up- screened commercial products, redundant systems, or mechanical shielding.