The massive amount of data being generated on modern space missions has led to a demand for higher performance computing in space. The ability to analyse data, make real-time decisions and obtain better situational awareness will greatly enhance mission capabilities. This high performance must be achieved while using low power and remaining small in size and weight. Additionally, solutions need to be reliable and robust enough to withstand the harsh environment of space where radiation accelerates aging, temperatures range from -55°C to 125°C and lifetime missions can exceed fifteen years.

The MacSpace consortium has brought together a plan to solve this challenge.

The project will research and develop a many-core digital signal processor chip and computer. The chip will be designed to provide a radiation tolerant space grade parallel processor, optimized for a wide range of application workloads and connectivity that fit levels of performance that far exceeds today’s abilities and expectations.

The foundation blocks to be developed by the project partners include the DSP core and software tools, a MacSpace custom 75 GMACS / 150 GOPS / 20 GFLOPS  ManyCore DSP processor, FPGA DSP computer prototype and a rad-hard-by-design MacSpace prototype chip.

MacSpace will enable future difficult-to-achieve space applications that require demanding computational performance in the areas of remote sensing, planetary exploration, scientific missions, navigation and telecommunications. The results will be shared and available for study and user testing towards the end of the project.