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ESA supports development of Cobham’s GR740 microprocessor in organic package

(28 November 2019 - Cobham) Cobham Gaisler, a leading space design center of Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions, announced today that they have successfully negotiated a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) leading to the development and validation of its GR740 Quad-Core LEON4FT Microprocessor in an Organic Package.

Cobham Gaisler will lead this joint development effort with semiconductor supplier STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM) and Synergie Cad PSC (France). This development will help meet market demand for high reliability, low cost components for large constellations and new space applications.

The GR740 microprocessor is a result of the Next Generation Multipurpose Processor (NGMP) activity at ESA and is targeted at high-performance general-purpose processing. Its architecture is suitable for both symmetric and asymmetric multiprocessing, and shared resources can be monitored to support mixed-criticality applications. Cobham, STMicroelectronics and Synergie Cad PSC will work together to develop the GR740 in an organic package. There is a strong demand to reduce the cost for all space electronics including EEE components, especially for constellation programs. One possible way is by employing methods, materials and techniques used for commercial and automotive industry, e.g. organic packages. The objective of this new activity is to assemble the existing GR740 die in a suitable organic package, process it through an adapted test flow and finally perform an evaluation demonstrating the capability to reach required standards for constellation programs.

The new GR740 organic package development is being funded by the ESA ARTES Competitiveness & Growth element with the support of the Swedish National Space Agency (SNSA), and internally by Cobham Gaisler. ARTES stands for Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems, and the ARTES Competitiveness & Growth element is dedicated to the development, qualification, and demonstration of products such as a piece of equipment, either of the platform or payload of a satellite, a user terminal or a full telecom system integrating a network with its respective space segment. The resulting product from the ESA ARTES activity will comprise the GR740 multi-core microprocessor die assembled in a non-hermetic organic encapsulated package. The targeted package is a Plastic Ball Grid Array (PBGA) with 625 balls, a body size of 27mm x 27mm, and a solder ball pitch of 1 mm.

"With this new activity we will extend our component portfolio into a new direction – adding lower cost components for constellation programs, while maintaining the high level of radiation-hardness and fault-tolerance of our processor products”, said Lars Wallhede, Supply Chain Manager, Cobham Gaisler.

“The growing demand for low cost solution for large scale constellations programs has been the driver for initiating this activity. We intend to bring the resulting product to the New Space market, offering high computational performance and high reliability in combination with a low cost when procured in large volumes. This will definitely become a game changer”, said Sandi Habinc, General Manager, Cobham Gaisler.

STMicroelectronics will contribute its space-grade semiconductor design, manufacturing and packaging expertise to this activity together with Cobham Gaisler and Synergie Cad PSC, which brings the resources of three of Europe’s best companies to meet the challenging performance, reliability, and cost constraints of the development and validation of space products for ARTES Competitiveness & Growth element.

“With our integrated back-end capabilities and recognized industrial experience in industrialization and production of semiconductor IC’s, Synergie Cad PSC is positioned as a natural supplier for the European New Space market. For this reason, it is, for us, a great satisfaction and pride to be part of GR740 consortium with two reference partners such as Cobham Gaisler and STMicroelectronics”, said Philippe Laban, General Manager, Synergie Cad PSC.

“This activity is another example of the full ESA commitment to support industry in becoming competitive in the New Space paradigm”, said Joan Fort Alsina, Technical Officer, European Space Agency.

About Synergie Cad PSC

Synergie Cad PSC (‘Synergie Cad Partner SemiConductors’), member of Synergie Cad Group, is specialized in industrialization and production of complex semiconductor IC’s. With integrated back-end capabilities including Packaging, Reliability, Test Engineering & Production, Supply Chain, and also PCB engineering/fabrication, Synergie Cad PSC offers both global Turn-Key solutions or engineering services to the Semiconductors and Electronics Industries. Synergie Cad PSC owns a Packaging and Testing line in Toulouse (France) for small series, and partners with Top3 OSAT for mid and large series. Synergie Cad also owns PCB Fabrication line in Carros (France).

About STMicroelectronics

ST is a global semiconductor leader delivering intelligent and energy-efficient products and solutions that power the electronics at the heart of everyday life. ST’s products are found everywhere today, and together with our customers, we are enabling smarter driving and smarter factories, cities and homes, along with the next generation of mobile and Internet of Things devices. By getting more from technology to get more from life, ST stands for life.augmented. In 2018, the Company’s net revenues were $9.66 billion, serving more than 100,000 customers worldwide.

About Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions (CAES)

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.