Cobham’s Magnetoresistive Random-Access Memories (MRAMs) launched aboard the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) on March 14, 2016.
The MRAMs are used by the Nadir and Occultation for MArs Discovery (NOMAD) instrument on the TGO. NOMAD is a spectrometer suite that will measure the spectrum of sunlight across a wide range of wavelengths, enabling the detection of components of the Martian atmosphere. Cobham’s Semiconductor Solutions business unit, part of the Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions sector, provided the MRAMs to the Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucia (IAA) and the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB).
Cobham MRAMs were selected due to the part’s access time, data retention and footprint, as well as radiation performance. Five MRAMs have been integrated on an interface board on the instrument. IAA confirmed in April that the board was powered on during flight and the MRAMs are working properly.
The ExoMars program is a joint endeavor between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos). The first mission of the ExoMars program is ExoMars 2016, which is scheduled to arrive at Mars in October 2016 and consists of a Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and an entry, descent and landing demonstrator module (EDM) known as Schiaparelli.
The main objectives of this mission are to search for evidence of methane and other trace atmospheric gases that could be signatures of active biological or geological processes and to test key technologies in preparation for ESA's contribution to subsequent missions to Mars.