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Satnews Daily
August 25th, 2019

Latching Up Done Right ... VORAGO Technologies Receives NASA SBIR Award for Latch-up Protection IC  

Among the many issues that must be dealt with in space is the severity of radiation and its damaging effects on instruments. NASA has recognized a company that is capable of designing and protecting such and rewarded them with a grant. 

NINE HARDSIL© based die are located on the STP-H5 (Space Test Program – Houston 5) assembly located on the International Space Station to measure effects of protons and cosmic rays.

Latch-up is a serious condition that can disrupt operation or destroy commercial integrated circuits that are exposed to space radiation. VORAGO integrated circuits are manufactured using HARDSIL® technology that immunizes them against ionizing radiation and thus makes them suitable to protect less robust devices that are not as effective at mitigating against space radiation effects. 

VORAGO Technologies, provider of radiation-hardened space electronics technology, has been awarded a NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). 

The new project to create a radiation-hardened Latch-up protection IC is consistent with VORAGO’s technology expertise and commercial objectives. The project addresses NASA’s requirement for state-of-the-art IC solutions that are cost-effective enough to be used in small spacecraft, but with radiation performance that is suitable for longer deep space missions. The Latch-up protection IC will have a ability to monitor up-to eight integrated circuits to determine if they succumb to radiation effects and will reset or disable them in the event of latch-up. 

Bernd Lienhard, chief executive officer of VORAGO Technologies stated that designers of space electronics systems sometimes have no choice but to use non-radiation hardened components that present a serious risk of latching-up. The new Latch-up Protection IC provides a means to monitor the operation of these risky devices and provides a recovery mechanism to reset or disable them in the event of a breakdown.

VORAGO Technologies, a privately held company based in Austin, Texas, provides patented solutions that enable electronics systems for extreme temperature and radiation environments. VORAGO’s patented HARDSIL® technology uses cost effective high volume manufacturing to harden any commercially designed semiconductor component for extreme environment operation. VORAGO Technologies provides possibilities for designs, no matter how hostile the environment.