Alpha Data, in collaboration with Xilinx and Texas Instruments, has launched a new Space Development Kit, the ADA-SDEV-KIT3, which will help users to rapidly test the hardware and software setups that look to incorporate the Xilinx™ Radiation Tolerant Kintex® UltraScale™ XQRKU060 Space-Grade FPGA.
A Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) is a chip consisting of a series of logic blocks which can be modified and configured by the user, and that is fast becoming a vital component of specialized electronic applications and products. With the benefits of being reprogrammable after being deployed in a given setting, and having a low power consumption, FPGAs are very well suited to computationally intensive operations including machine learning tasks and missions in space environments, either for upgrading the hardware or for mitigating cosmic ray radiation damage.
Alpha Data’s new Space Development Kit, the ADA-SDEV-KIT3, is a development kit for the , the world’s ﬁrst 20 nm space-grade FPGA. The Xilinx XQRKU060 oﬀers a 5x improvement over the previous generation of Space-Grade FPGAs, allowing the deployment of far more advanced communications, signal processing, image processing and machine learning applications.
The ADA-SDEV-KIT3 supersedes Alpha Data’s ADA-SDEV-KIT2 by adding Ethernet I/O and more ﬂexible conﬁguration options for SelectMAP Scrubbing. The improved version, which was developed following space industry feedback, makes the new Space Development Kit more powerful for customers interested in deploying FPGA hardware in harsh environments.
Alpha Data’s ADA-SDEV-KIT3 board powers the FPGA with a reference Texas Instruments power supply design. The power eﬃciency and the increased processing capacity of the new Space Development Kit will allow customers to design more computationally intensive solutions, with a focus on space deployable systems and payloads.
Alpha Data’s Space Development Kit helps space companies gain this competitive edge by providing a cost-eﬀective environment to rapidly test the hardware and software setups incorporating the Kintex® UltraScale™ XQRKU060 FPGA. Alpha Data have already developed example applications for the Space Development Kit, enabling customers to build on proven designs and reduce their own development cycle to improve the time to market.
The launch of this Space Development Kit is part of Alpha Data’s ever growing product line in “Extreme Environments”, which also includes the ADM-VPX3-9Z5 board – an OpenVPX MPSoC FPGA System on Module (SoM) board – and builds on the company’s strong technical heritage and the experience of providing products to aerospace primes and research organizations. Alpha Data engineers are ready to support customers looking to quickly develop space-ready designs using the very best in reconﬁgurable computing.
“We expect machine learning to become vital in dealing with the huge amount of data produced by satellite remote sensing,” said Andrew McCormick, Technical Director at Alpha Data. “The ability to use machine learning to pre-process and ﬁlter data will provide a competitive edge, and this new Space Development Kit – the ADA-SDEV-KIT3 – helps our customers develop spacecraft payloads incorporating A.I. solutions. As well as providing ongoing technical and design support, one of Alpha Data’s key strengths is quickly modifying our designs to meet customer requirements. In terms of the space development kit, this allows customers to rapidly prototype and develop rugged aerospace products, helping them get their hardware into orbit faster.”