NASA Office of Logic Design

NASA Office of Logic Design

A scientific study of the problems of digital engineering for space flight systems,
with a view to their practical solution.



Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) Digital Signal Processor Experienced Destructive Events as a Result of Ionizing Radiation Testing


The Fluids and Combustion Facility (FCF) project at the NASA Glenn Research Center subjected the Digital Signal Processor (DSP) based Data Acquisition board to ionizing radiation testing to simulate the International Space Station US Lab radiation environment. Components on the board were irradiated by a 200 MeV proton beam and were exposed to a ten year equivalent dose (600 Rads with a 1.5 Safety margin) of ionizing radiation. All exposures resulted in destructive events in the DSP chips on board.

The Digital Signal Processor (DSP) based Data Acquisition board is a commercial off-the-shelf product that was not designed for space applications. There are four identical DSP chips on the board. The DSP chips are commercial microcircuits, also not intended for space applications. The DSP chips are utilized for image acquisition from FCF Serial Data Link (SDL) supported cameras.

No other devices on the Data Acquisition boards were observed to fail, however the boards were not tested beyond about 1-2% of the total intended proton fluence when the specific SHARC DSP chips were exposed directly.


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