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LEON: The Space Chip That Europe Built


Craig
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http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Engineering/LEON_the_space_chip_that_Europe_built


 


Just like home computers, the sophisticated capabilities of today’s space missions are made possible by the power of their processor chips. ESA’s coming Alphasat telecom satellite, the Proba-V microsatellite, the Earth-monitoring Sentinel family and the BepiColombo mission to Mercury are among the first missions to use an advanced 32-bit microprocessor – engineered and built in Europe.

 


All of them incorporate the new LEON2-FT chip, commercially known as the AT697. Engineered to operate within spacecraft computers, this microprocessor is manufactured by Atmel in France but originally designed by ESA.


 


To give an idea of the kind of complex factors involved in its design, the ‘FT’ in its name stands for ‘fault tolerant’, meaning it can withstand the random memory ‘bit flips’ due to space radiation (for more information, see the link: LEON: The making of a microprocessor for space).


 


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