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Cobham awarded ESA contract for GR740 SBC reference design

(28 November 2019 - Cobham) Cobham Gaisler, a leading space design center of Advanced Electronic Solutions, announced today that it is leading a consortium for a new development contract from the European Space Agency (ESA).

Cobham Gaisler and RUAG Space, both located in Gothenburg, Sweden, with specification input from Airbus Defense and Space, Thales Alenia Space and OHB Systems, will together design a reference design and basic software for a single board computer (SBC) based on the GR740 Quad-Core LEON4FT Microprocessor.

Sponsored by the ESA, this single board computer reference design and software will be available for all European space users. It will be based on Cobham’s GR740, a radiation hardened system-on-chip that has been designed as the European Space Agency's Next Generation Microprocessor (NGMP) and is part of the ESA roadmap for standard microprocessor components. The development will include breadboard and basic software to be verified on a functional and performance level, as well as a test plan for future space qualification. The availability of the reference design will shorten the development time and reduce the risk for space users when designing their custom single board computers and flight software based on the GR740 processor.

"The project is a perfect fit for Cobham, with the highest level of expertise in the GR740 processor, a suitable basic software library, successful experience of previous reference design projects and in-depth knowledge of potential backplane standards. Through the collaboration with RUAG Space, who brings an unparalleled amount of relevant design experience, we ensure high quality output of the board development, test environment and environmental analyses”, said Arne Samuelsson, Proposal & Project Manager, Cobham Gaisler.

“We at RUAG Space have a long experience in developing boards for internal use, also using LEON technology, and see this activity as an opportunity to bring our knowledge and experience to the single board processor market”, said Lars-Göran Green, Project Manager, RUAG Space.

“After the effort and investment undertaken by ESA and European industry to develop and qualify the GR740 Quad-Core LEON4FT Microprocessor, this is the next step to bring this new space component into real space computers. While large system integrators usually know how to develop their own computer units, the reference design, to be made available under ESA community licence, will be of particular interest also for small companies and institutes, developing instruments for science and other missions, enabling them to offer a high performance and high quality on-board computer at reasonable incremental development effort. A common reference design for a frequently used building block such as a computer, while still allowing application specific tailoring, also improves the standardisation of interfaces and form factors, hereby reducing the effort to make things fit at unit- and system integration”, said Roland Weigand, Technical Officer, European Space Agency.

About RUAG Space

RUAG Space is the leading supplier to the space industry in Europe, with a growing presence in the United States. With more than 1,300 staff across six countries, it develops and manufactures products for satellites and launch vehicles – playing a key role both in the institutional and commercial space market. RUAG Space is a division of the international technology Group RUAG. RUAG develops and markets internationally sought-after technology applications in the fields of aerospace and defense for use on land, in the air and in space. RUAG generates sales of approximately CHF 2 billion and has over 9,100 employees – 400 of whom are trainees.

About Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions

Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions (CAES), the U.S. subsidiary of Cobham plc operating under a Special Security Agreement (SSA) with the US Department of Defense, provides a number of mission-critical and specialized solutions for harsh environments. Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions supplies defense, aerospace, security, medical and industrial markets with critical solutions for communication on land, at sea, and in the air and space, by moving data through off-the-shelf and customized products and subsystems including RF, microwave, and high reliability microelectronics, antenna apertures and motion control solutions.

About Cobham plc

Cobham offers an innovative range of technologies and services to solve challenging problems in commercial, defence and security markets, from deep space to the depths of the ocean. We employ around 10,000 people primarily in the USA, UK, Europe and Australia, and have customers and partners in over 100 countries, with market leading positions in: wireless, audio, video and data communications, including satellite communications; defence electronics; air-to-air refueling; aviation services; life support and mission equipment.