First, application engineer Thomas Porchez presented the on-board processing solutions under development for such applications. With the 2-in-1 Qormino processing module soon to be launched, the company is integrating its radiation tolerant LS1046 processor with 4GB of radiation tolerant (RadTol) DDR4 memory on a single 44x26mm substrate with a 2.1GT/s built-in DDR4 bus (featuring ECC).
Built around a quad-core ARM Cortex A72 running at up to 1.6GHz, the Qormino offers 30 000 DMIPS of computing capability, Porchez highlighted, noting that a development kit was already available while the standalone LS1046 processor and DDR4 memory module were being tested for space grade reliability before the Qormino module would undergo such tests by the end of 2020 or early 2021.
Next Eric Chevallier, Bid Manager at Teledyne e2v discussed the evolution of image sensors for space applications, acknowledging a strong shift from CCD devices (declining) to CMOS devices. The market shift leverages the availability of low-cost mass-produced Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) CMOS sensors (including those from Teledyne but also some from third party manufacturers) up-screened and tested according to space grade standards.
Among Teledyne e2v’s image sensors getting traction for space applications, Chevallier highlighted the Emerald CMOS sensor family, with parts ranging from 8Mpixels at a 4Kx2K resolution with pixels 2.8µm per side to a 67Mpixel device delivering 8K UHD resolution (with 2.5µm pixels) and capable processing 60 frames per second at full resolution.
In the scope of the new cubesat project dubbed “QlevEr-Sat”, it is a 16Mpixel 4Kx4K (4096 x 4096) device that has been selected (with 2.8μm pixels) which can also be used as a 2kx2k matrix. The image sensor is available in B&W and color versions with 8, 10, or 12 bit resolutions and has a throughput of 47fps at 10 bit or 30fps at 12 bit.
The partnership between the CSUG and Teledyne e2v is not new, the two groups started their collaboration in 2017 with the ‘AMICal-Sat’ project, a 2U nanosatellite whose mission is to observe auroras and perform image captures. The imaging payload of this satellite is based on Teledyne’s Onyx 1.3MP CMOS sensor. While the nanosatellite is now ready for launch into orbite with the ArianeSpace VEGA launcher, its launch initially scheduled for the 24th of March 2020 has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Started in the first quarter of 2020, the QlevEr-Sat collaborative project will leverage Teledyne e2V’s 16MP Emerald CMOS sensor together with the radiation tolerant Qormino processing module.