May 22, 2020 | Tommy Mullane
One of the key stages in designing any chip is the testing you do when you get the first silicon back. This is where you...
S3 Semiconductors attended the recent Industry Space Days (ISD) in Noordwijk, The Netherlands. The 2-day space industry gathering which ran from the 11th to the 12th of September took place at the European Space and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, The Netherlands. This years event attracted a record number of over 1600 attendees to a mix of scheduled business to business (B2B) meetings, an exhibition, and conference talks.
S3 Semiconductors had the opportunity to discuss the advantages of using standard CMOS technology for radiation hardened applications, at several B2B meetings. And to highlight the significant potential cost savings standard CMOS can bring to satellite communications systems as discussed in a recent Everything RF article. In this article, S3semi discussed how developments in Ku/Ka-band are promising to deliver a satellite superhighway. This, however, puts an additional cost on satellite operators and S3semi were delighted to be able to discuss this with satellite companies at ISD and show how recent advances in CMOS technology with transistors becoming smaller and faster, have made CMOS a strong technology option for mmWave circuits.
In addition, there was great interest in Satellite IoT applications at the event and the ecosystem needed to support CubeSat constellations. The ground-based communications nodes that gather the data from ground assets and transmit the collected analytical data to the satellite constellation for distribution into the cloud are critical elements in the overall system. S3 Semiconductors have market-proven ASICs for such communications nodes. As the requirements for these systems move to multiband, S3 Semiconductors RF CMOS SoC solutions are well positioned to enable these systems.
An interesting observation, which shows the growth of small satellites is continuing was around the discussions of satellites moving from 3U to 12U and even 16U. So small satellites are not so small anymore! This increase in size is being motivated by a desire for increased functionality and also to gain more room for such things as power generation and solar panels. This provides challenges on the cost of these satellites as they are no longer as small (or light) and therefore the launch costs will start to increase. A path for the future here seems obvious – by miniaturizing the electronics through CMOS increase you can increase your functionality without having to increase the size and weight. And as discussed at the B2B meetings with lots of customers at ISD, S3 Semiconductors is your ideal partner to facilitate this integration. At S3 Semiconductors we are bringing commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) advantages of standard CMOS to ASICs for satellite communications while saving you cost, size and weight.