Cressler, John D.

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    Radiation Hardened Electronics for Space Environments (RHESE) Project Overview
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2008-06-25) Keys, Andrew ; Adams, James H. ; Cressler, John D. ; Patrick, Marshall C. ; Johnson, Michael A. ; Darty, Ronald C.
    The Radiation Hardened Electronics for Space Environments (RHESE) project endeavors to expand the current state-of-the-art in radiation hardened electronics by developing high performance devices robust enough to withstand the extreme radiation and temperature levels of the space environment. The primary customers of RHESE technologies will be the multiple mission elements of NASA's Constellation Program, including the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle, the Altair Lunar Lander project, Lunar Surface Systems elements, and Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) elements. However, this same technology may satisfy the needs of NASA's science missions as well. The RHESE project is a part of the Exploration Technology Development Program, which funds an entire suite of technologies needed for accomplishing the goals of the Vision for Space Exploration. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) manages the RHESE project. RHESE employs a broad-scoped approach to developing radiation-hardened space electronics. Investment areas include novel materials, design processes to implement radiation hardening, reconfigurable hardware techniques, software development tools, and radiation environment modeling tools. Near-term emphasis within the multiple RHESE tasks focuses on hardening Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA)s for use in reconfigurable architectures and on developing electronic components using semiconductor processes and materials (such as Silicon-Germanium (SiGe)) to enhance a device's tolerance to radiation events and low temperature environments. As these technologies mature, the project shifts its focus to developing low-power, high efficiency total processor hardening techniques and hardening of volatile and nonvolatile memories. This phased approach to distributing emphasis between technology developments allows RHESE to provide hardened FPGA devices and environmentally hardened electronic units for mission infusion into early Constellation projects such as the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) and the Ares V Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV). Once these technologies begin the infusion process, the RHESE project then shifts its technology development focus to hardened, high speed processors with associated memory elements and high density storage for the longer duration missions, such as the Lunar Lander, the Lunar Outpost, and eventual Mars Exploration missions occurring later in the Constellation schedule. The individual tasks that comprise RHESE are diverse, yet united in the common endeavor to develop electronics capable of operating within the harsh environment of space. Specifically, the RHESE tasks are: Silicon-Germanium (SiGe) Integrated Electronics for Extreme Environments, Modeling of Radiation Effects on Electronics, Single Event Effects (SEE) Immune Reconfigurable Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) (SIRF), Radiation Hardened High Performance Processors (HPP), and Reconfigurable Computing. Though these tasks are diverse in their specific key performance parameters, they collectively endeavor to accomplish these specific goals: improved total ionization dose (TID) tolerance, reduced single event upset rates, increased threshold for single event latch-up, increased sustained processor performance, increased processor efficiency, increased speed of dynamic reconfigurability, reduced operating temperature range's lower bound, increased the available levels of redundancy and reconfigurability, and increased the reliability and accuracy of radiation effects modeling. This paper describes each RHESE technology development task and reviews how each task could support the extreme environmental needs of the planetary probe community.