The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and BAE Systems are developing and fielding powerful, state-of-the-art, radiation-hardened microprocessors for space applications, AFRL said in a news release.

The RAD750 microprocessor enables survivability of spacecraft operation in harsh, high-radiation environments. To meet greater on-orbit processing demands and fewer ground support capabilities, the RAD750 design architecture was modified.

Military users have the option of selecting the first-generation RAD750, which is radiation-tolerant with a modest process speed, or several strategic radiation-hardened versions with higher processor speeds.

As microelectronics shrink to increase speed and performance, the microelectronics operating in space become increasingly more susceptible to degradation or damage from radiation. Microelectronic devices developed for space begin as mature commercial designs that are adapted to radiation-hardening design rules, which result in either radiation-tolerant or strategic radiation-hardened devices.