Microchip Unveils Radiation-Tolerant 32-Bit Arm Cortex-M0+ Based MCU for Aerospace Market

Microchip Unveils Radiation-Tolerant 32-Bit Arm Cortex-M0+ Based MCU for Aerospace Market

Space exploration is experiencing a resurgence with exciting new missions like the highly anticipated Artemis II mission, the recent successful lunar landing missions such as JAXA SLIM and Chandaaryan-3, and New Space deployments in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Designers require electronic components that meet stringent radiation and reliability standards to operate in the harsh environments found in space. 

Microchip Technology announced the SAMD21RT, a radiation-tolerant (RT) Arm Cortex-M0+ based 32-bit microcontroller (MCU) in a 64-pin ceramic and plastic package with 128 KB Flash and 16 KB SRAM. Designed for space-constrained applications where size and weight are of critical importance, the SAMD21RT is available in a small footprint of 10 mm × 10 mm. Running at up to 48 MHz, the SAMD21RT delivers high-performance processing for harsh environments. The device integrates analog functions including an Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC) with up to 20 channels, a Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) and analog comparators.

The SAMD21RT device builds on Microchip’s existing family of SAMD21 MCUs, which is widely used in industrial and automotive markets. It is also based on Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) devices, which significantly simplifies the design process when transitioning to a radiation-tolerant device as the design remains pinout compatible. Microchip offers a comprehensive system solution for space applications with many devices that can be designed around the SAMD21RT MCU including FPGAs, power and discrete devices, memory products, communication interfaces, and oscillators providing a broad range of options across qualification levels.

To withstand harsh environments including radiation and extreme temperatures, the SAMD21RT can operate in temperatures ranging from −40°C to 125°C and provides a high level of radiation tolerance with a Total Ionizing Dose (TID) capability up to 50 krad and Single Event Latch-up (SEL) immunity up to 78 MeV.cm²/mg.

“The advantage of working with Microchip is that we have the history, knowledge, and capability to do the design and testing in-house for our radiation-tolerant and radiation-hardened devices,” said Bob Vampola, vice president of Microchip’s aerospace and defense business unit. “We continue to bring newer technologies like Ethernet, AI, and ML, which have evolved in the commercial and industrial markets and improve them with radiation performance to meet the needs of space missions. We also continue to provide higher computing performance and integration of newer technologies into smaller packages, reducing weight and size.”

The SAMD21RT 32-bit MCU is supported by the SAM D21 Curiosity Nano Evaluation Kit, MPLAB X Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and MPLAB PICkit 5 in-circuit debugger/programmer. The low-power SAMD21RT features idle and standby sleep modes and sleepwalking peripherals. Other peripherals include a 12-channel Direct Memory Access Controller (DMAC), a 12-channel event system, various Timer/Counters for Control (TCC), a 32-bit Real Time Counter (RTC), a Watchdog Timer (WDT) and a USB 2.0 interface. Communication options include Serial Communication (SERCOM), I2C, SPI and LIN.

With tens of thousands of parts in orbit, Microchip has been a significant part of space exploration history and is critical to the missions. Its products are on the way to the moon as part of the Artemis program and are contributing to the success of the Space Launch System, Orion Spacecraft, Lunar Gateway, Lunar Lander, and next-generation spacesuits. 

Click here to learn about Microchip's SAMD21RT  Radiation Tolerant 32-bit microcontroller.

Click here to learn about Microchip's Space Qualified Microcontrollers listed on SatNow.

Publisher: SatNow

GNSS Constellations - A list of all GNSS satellites by constellations


Satellite NameOrbit Date
BeiDou-3 G4Geostationary Orbit (GEO)17 May, 2023
BeiDou-3 G2Geostationary Orbit (GEO)09 Mar, 2020
Compass-IGSO7Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)09 Feb, 2020
BeiDou-3 M19Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M20Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M21Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M22Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 I3Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M23Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019
BeiDou-3 M24Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019


Satellite NameOrbit Date
GSAT0223MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0224MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0219MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0220MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0221MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0222MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0215MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0216MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0217MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0218MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Kosmos 2569--07 Aug, 2023
Kosmos 2564--28 Nov, 2022
Kosmos 2559--10 Oct, 2022
Kosmos 2557--07 Jul, 2022
Kosmos 2547--25 Oct, 2020
Kosmos 2545--16 Mar, 2020
Kosmos 2544--11 Dec, 2019
Kosmos 2534--27 May, 2019
Kosmos 2529--03 Nov, 2018
Kosmos 2527--16 Jun, 2018


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Navstar 82Medium Earth Orbit19 Jan, 2023
Navstar 81Medium Earth Orbit17 Jun, 2021
Navstar 78Medium Earth Orbit22 Aug, 2019
Navstar 77Medium Earth Orbit23 Dec, 2018
Navstar 76Medium Earth Orbit05 Feb, 2016
Navstar 75Medium Earth Orbit31 Oct, 2015
Navstar 74Medium Earth Orbit15 Jul, 2015
Navstar 73Medium Earth Orbit25 Mar, 2015
Navstar 72Medium Earth Orbit29 Oct, 2014
Navstar 71Medium Earth Orbit02 Aug, 2014


Satellite NameOrbit Date
NVS-01Geostationary Orbit (GEO)29 May, 2023
IRNSS-1IInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)12 Apr, 2018
IRNSS-1HSub Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO)31 Aug, 2017
IRNSS-1GGeostationary Orbit (GEO)28 Apr, 2016
IRNSS-1FGeostationary Orbit (GEO)10 Mar, 2016
IRNSS-1EGeosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)20 Jan, 2016
IRNSS-1DInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)28 Mar, 2015
IRNSS-1CGeostationary Orbit (GEO)16 Oct, 2014
IRNSS-1BInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Apr, 2014
IRNSS-1AInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)01 Jul, 2013