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Atmel Introduces First Reconfigurable Processor That Enables On-the-Fly Adjustment of Space Applications

Atmel® Corporation (NASDAQ: ATML), a leader in microcontroller and touch technology solutions, today announced the Atmel ATF697FF, the newest member of the Atmel SPARC V8 processor family and the industry’s first radiation-hardened (RAD Hard) high-performance aerospace microprocessor that can be reconfigured on-the-fly. The ability to reconfigure on-the-fly allows users to make on-going design modifications to satellites, including specification updates, in-flight adjustments during trial flights and post-launch alterations.

Reflecting 30 years of innovation in the aerospace market, the new ATF697FF is a unique reconfigurable processor that integrates Atmel’s proven RAD Hard AT697F processor and reconfigurable ATF280F (FPGA) unit in a single multichip module (MCM). With this MCM solution approach, engineers can reduce overall system cost and save space on the printed circuit board (PCB).

The ATF697FF, designed and developed by the Atmel Aerospace Business Unit here in Rousset, France, adds the flexibility of a reprogrammable FPGA to the reliability of a powerful core processor running application software. It is ideal for systems that require reconfiguration of peripherals and interfaces, making it easy to comply and stay up-to-date with evolving standards that are used on many space missions, such as SpaceWire, CAN or IEEE1553. The flexibility of the ATF697FF processor is also beneficial for late design modifications performed on Earth, for in-flight adjustments on satellites and for space trial operations.

The new solution combines an Atmel AT697F SPARC V8 RAD Hard processor with a RAD Hard ATF280F SRAM-based FPGA and an internal PCI link. The ATF697FF delivers best-in-class performance, running at up to 100MHz, as well as low power, down to 0.7W, for space applications today. Jointly developed with STAR-Dundee of the United Kingdom, a SDE Software development kit is also available for the SPARC V8 Platform to provide compiling, debugging and monitoring tools. IDS and Mentor tools are available for FPGA designs and Atmel will offer pre-placed IPs to ease customized interfaces developments.

"The ability to make real-time, on-the-fly adjustments to satellites just before launch or while in-flight is an increasing demand in aerospace today. We’ve leveraged our extensive flight experience to deliver the industry’s first reconfigurable processor that also reduces costs and increases time-to-market," said Patrick Sauvage, general manager, Aerospace Business Unit, Atmel Corporation. "With over 3,000 flight models of the previous generation TSC695 processor in space and 300 flight models of the ATF697 processor delivered worldwide to-date, we have a proven track record of providing reliable, innovative solutions. The ATF697FF is further testament to our leadership."

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