CAES, a leader in advanced mission-critical electronics, has been awarded a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop a fault- and radiation-tolerant system-on-chip. Funded by the Swedish National Space Agency, the project will improve performance and power efficiency in satellite and spacecraft applications by developing a 16-core, space-hardened microprocessor based on the open RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA).

The GR7xV processor will be designed into spaceborne controls and payload data management and processing systems to enable new kinds of observational, communication, navigational and scientific missions and services. These include advanced, flexible telecommunications satellite payloads, scientific and earth-observation payloads and robotics systems such as planetary exploration rovers.

The new fault- and radiation-tolerant processor will extend CAES Gaisler Product family of LEON processors, which have been used in space applications for decades and are based on legacy 32-bit SPARC V8 ISA microprocessor cores.

“ESA is proud to work with CAES on this new technology development as it will enable future missions and advance the technological standard for space processors,” said Elodie Viau, Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at ESA.

“The ESA contract further advances our development of a fault- and rad-tolerant space-grade microprocessor with unprecedented performance for its class,” said Sandi Habinc, General Manager, CAES Gaisler Products. “The open RISC-V ISA has seen significant adoption in other markets, and this project is the first to develop a RISC-V-based ASIC for space applications.”

The ESA contract follows a contract awarded earlier this year by Vinnova, Sweden’s innovation agency, to extend the RISC-V processor platform to space-hardened applications for timing isolation and cybersecurity. The results of that study will be used to advance space-hardened GR7xV microprocessor development and will be shared with the industry at large.

About CAES

CAES is a pioneer of advanced electronics for the most technologically challenging military and aerospace trusted systems. As the largest provider of mixed-signal and radiation-hardened technology to the aerospace and defense industry, CAES delivers high-reliability RF, microwave and millimeter wave, microelectronic and digital solutions that enable our customers to ensure a safer, more secure planet. On land, at sea, in the air, in space and in cyberspace, CAES’ extensive electronics and enhanced manufacturing capabilities are at the forefront of mission-critical military and aerospace innovation.

About ESA

The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space. ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. European Space Agency (

The Telecommunications and Integrated Applications Directorate (TIA) supports innovation to boost the competitiveness of European industry in the global space market. This involves a wide range of activities, from space-based technology, systems, product for telecommunications development to the down-to-Earth application of space-based services. It also calls for engagement with a wide range of industrial, academic, and institutional partners.


Colleen Cronin