RTX2010, the brain of the Philae lander

Sonde-PhilaeThe small probe Philae and his rebounds on comet 67 p/Churyumov-Gerasimenko occupied the headlines during the end of last week. A beautiful success media and scientific for CNES the program Rosetta has fully achieved its objectives… even if the comet has proved tougher than expected for spikes of the probe.
Philae, was undeniably connected object of the week, but what computer animated the little robot?

A platform designed to confront the cosmic radiation


One of the two processor DPU cards embedded systems on board the Philae probe.

x86 or ARM? Linux RT or Windows Embedded? None of this actually. Do not forget that the Rosetta probe and its module Philae were launched in space 10 years ago and that time spent on studies and tests is of the same order. So do not wait in that this is an octo-core ARM that drives the small probe or even an Intel Pentium of the 1990s. For their probe, CNES has chosen a component tested in satellites, the RTX2010 of Harris/Intersil, a 16-bit microprocessor running at 8 MHz. not very impressive, even for the 1990s. Yet the designed microprocessor presented some decisive assets to take part in the Rosetta mission. On the one hand its power consumption reaches that 900 mW, was given that this criterion is crucial in this type of expedition. Another plus ru RTX2010, it can collect up to 300,000 rads. Cosmic radiation are the bane of space electronics. A processor of trade, very exposed by having often very large caches very fragile against radiation, will make the soul after having received between 5,000 and 10,000 rads.
The CNES has therefore played safety Philae wakes up fresh and available after 10 years in space as probe embarks 2 cards from treatment on his calculator redundancy hot’, the second card capable hand at any time in the event of failure of the first. Philae is now in hibernation, but researchers at CNES should rely on the probe and its armoured microprocessors as soon as its remaining solar panels receive enough of the sunshine to reactivate.

Sources :

Here comes Philae! Powered by an RTX2010“, TheCPUShack, November 12, 2014

“The Rosetta Lander Common-DPU”, Site du DLR

“Command and Data Management Subsystem (CDMS) of the Rosetta Lander (Philae)”, site SGF

The European Space Agency’s Rosetta
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