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NASA taps Microchip to build next-gen spaceflight processor

By Nicholas Gerbis
Published: Wednesday, August 17, 2022 - 3:29pm
Updated: Wednesday, August 17, 2022 - 5:20pm

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NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has selected Microchip Technology Inc. to develop a high-performance spaceflight computing processor that will support future space missions.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has selected Microchip Technology of Chandler to develop its next generation of high-performance spaceflight computer processors.

The $50 million fixed-price contract gives Microchip three years to design and deliver a processor that is fault-tolerant, scalable and packs 100 times the number-crunching oomph of current spaceflight computers.

Based on 30-year-old technology, today's processors are often over-designed and inefficient because they're built to handle the flight's most demanding tasks, which might make up only a fraction of a given mission.

Microchips' design can draw less power by varying processing and turning off certain functions when not in use.

If successful in space, the processor might turn up in more down-to-earth uses like industrial automation.