181216 microchip p

Spaceship chip

181216 microchip 1

Here is a close-up of the next-generation microprocessor that will serve a wide variety of future space missions.

Standard terrestrial chips wouldn’t last very long in orbit under the harsh blast of space radiation. The European Space Agency has had a long history of working with industry on specially ‘rad-hardened’ designs for space.

This GR740 microprocessor, developed by Cobham Gaisler in Sweden and manufactured by France-based STMicroelectronics, is a quadcore design combining four embedded LEON4 cores. The LEON4 is the latest member of a series of chips that began with the LEON2-FT, developed at the ESA from the second half of the 1990s.