BAE’S Space Systems business in Manassas, Virginia, makes radiation-hardened microelectronics for use on satellites. Credit: BAE Systems

WASHINGTON — BAE Systems received a Defense Department contract to qualify a new version of integrated circuit chips for use in space electronics, the company announced Dec. 6

BAE will qualify radiation-hardened 12-nanometer chips which are faster and more efficient than the current 45-nanometer chips used by DoD.

“Moving from a 45 nanometer design to a 12 nanometer design enables more transistors to fit on each chip at reduced power consumption per operation, which increases functionality,” said Ricardo Gonzalez, director of space systems at BAE Systems. The reduced dimensions are “an important factor in space vehicles, where volume and power are limited resources.”

A company spokesperson said BAE could not disclose the value of the contract. 

 Jim LaRosa, space systems program director at BAE Systems, said the radiation-hardened microchips will be made available to “the entire space community to address future high-performance requirements.”

The chips will be produced and tested at BAE’s Space Systems business in Manassas, Virginia. 

Space missions require high-performance but low-power integrated circuits with special design features to mitigate the effects of radiation, said Gonzalez. The 12-nanometer chips will be tested to Qualified Manufacturer’s Listing (QML) Class V and Q standards, which are used by the U.S. government and the space industry.


Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...