openMSP430: the road trip to Space of an open-source µC core

by olivier.girard on 06-Nov-2016
Here it is, Thales Alenia Space has completed the development of its latest radiation hardened mixed-mode integrated circuit: the DPC (Digital Programmable Controller). Among plenty of other cool things, this IC's processing units are based on 3 instances of the openMSP430 core… how cool is that :-) It can be used across a wide range of space applications. Current examples are: - Avionics (CAN & mil-1553b bus clients, motor/heater/valve control, power-management, battery monitoring, …) -Gyroscope acquisition & processing (ONERA) - Robotic arm motor control (DLR) Check-out the full papers here and here. And YES YES YES, the openMSP430 might very well be on its way to Mars as well: Cheers, Olivier About the openMSP430: The openMSP430 is a fully synthesizable open source 16-bit microcontroller core developed by myself, hosted on Opencores. It is compatible with Texas Instruments’ MSP430 microcontroller family and can execute the code generated by any MSP430 toolchain in a near cycle accurate way. The core comes with some peripherals (16x16 Hardware Multiplier, Watchdog, GPIO, TimerA, generic templates), with a DMA interface, and most notably with a two-wire Serial Debug Interface supporting the MSPGCC GNU Debugger (GDB) for in-system software debugging. While being fully FPGA friendly, this design is also particularly suited for ASIC implementations (typically mixed signal ICs with strong area and low-power requirements). In a nutshell, the openMSP430 brings with it: - Low area (8k-Gates), without hidden extra infrastructure overhead (memory backbone, IRQ controller and watchdog timer are already included) - Excellent code density. - Good performances. - Build-in power and clock management options. - Multiple times Silicon Proven. A few real world references: - Space (ESA μC ¹, NASA Venus Lander², Many-core Imaging³, Cubesat⁴ ). - Sensor/Actuators (Delta-Micro¹, Silansys¹, US-Navy², Heart beat-rate monitor³ ). - Cryptography (Root-of-trust³, Memory protection³, Secure-IRQs³, Elliptic-Curve³, Defcon 22, ...). ¹ : product / ² : development / ³ : research / ⁴ : academics
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