Commercial Secure Memory Drives Do Well in Space

Secure solid-state computer memory drives built for commercial use can also be used for space-qualified, radiation-tolerant applications.

Space is one of many application areas for both commercial and military electronic systems considered a “radiation-intense” environment. Other such applications include high-altitude aircraft, airborne weapons, and mission-critical ground computing systems. Damage from ionizing radiation can damage the best-designed space-based systems.

Fortunately, Mercury Systems has announced the availability of its TRRUST-Stor VPX RT family of space-qualified, radiation-tolerant secure solid-state drives (SSDs) with the company’s BuiltSECURE high-security technology (see figure). These are the first commercial SSDs built for space, leveraging Mercury’s OpenVPX modular technology to help reduce satellite system design cycles, as well as to eliminate risk in the choice of components for space-based and other applications subject to radiation-intense environments.

A line of secure, solid-state memory drives developed for commercial use has also shown it can handle the rigors of space applications, including being radiation-tolerant.

Risk of component failure due to radiation damage has always been a concern for space-based systems. Standard memory components may try to include redundant storage devices to overcome the impact of radiation damage, yet fail to include error correction algorithms to counter the effects of ionizing radiation damage to the flash memory storage elements.

The new family of space-grade memory solutions use the BuiltSECURE error-correction algorithms along with large-geometry industrial-grade single-level-cell (SLC) NANND flash memory. They are designed for fault tolerance to as many as six failed NAND devices, providing data integrity for systems where memory device repair or replacement may be impractical and cost-prohibitive. The new memory devices are designed for seamless integration with OpenVPX processing boards and chassis, allowing system integrators to tailor power consumption versus performance for each application.

“Having supplied commercial RF and microwave devices for more than 30 years for space applications, we are now leveraging the power of Mercury’s next-generation business model to deliver the first commercial SSD ruggedized for space environments,” said Iain Mackie, vice president and general manager of Mercury’s Microelectronics Secure Solutions group. “Our innovative fault-tolerance design protects our customers’ high-value investment using our deep domain expertise in secure solid-state drive design and manufacturing.”

The company’s full portfolio of advanced digital microelectronic components and subsystems are designed and manufactured in a Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA) accredited facility for design, packaging, test, and broker services.

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