Aerospace

Case Study:  SpriteSat (Rising) Satellite

SpriteSat (Rising) is an Earth observation satellite designed by ÅAC Microtec and built by Tohoku University located in Sendai, Japan. The mission is to monitor sprites (lightning effects) phenomena in the upper atmosphere.

ÅAC Microtec used Everspin's extended temperature range 4Mbit MRAM in its Tohoku-ÅAC MEMS Unit (TAMU), a magnetometer subsystem.  Everspin's 4Mbit MRAM device replaced both Flash and battery-backed SRAM.

Why AAC Microtec selected MRAM for the TAMU magnetometer subsystem in SpriteSat

The TAMU is an advanced magnetometer subsystem developed at Ångström Aerospace Corporation (ÅAC) of Uppsala, Sweden. The purpose of the TAMU is to provide magnetometer data of the Earth's magnetic field for correlation with the sprite observations. The experimental TAMU is composed of four types of devices manufactured using leading-edge technologies: a 3-axis geomagnetic sensor, an MPU chip fabricated by 3D-system-in-package technology, a 4 Mbit MRAM (Magnetic Random Access Memory) chip manufactured by Everspin Technologies and an IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) chip.

In the words of the designers, "The emerging MRAM technology combines magnetic materials and silicon integrated circuitry to form a fast, reliable, non-volatile RAM (NVRAM). MRAM combines non-volatile memory with extended temperature operation, unlimited endurance, and long-term data retention, even when the power fails." *

Why is MRAM suitable for aerospace applications?

  • MRAM is radiation-tolerant.
  • MRAM provides both high temperature data storage and access and high reliability for rugged system design.
  • The ability to reprogram MRAM while in space allows a system to be reconfigured without any limit to endurance, load leveling or ECC overhead.

* https://directory.eoportal.org/web/eoportal/satellite-missions/s/spritesat