Layout of the LEON2-FT chip, alias AT697

LEON: the space chip that Europe built

7 January 2013

Just like home computers, the sophisticated capabilities of today’s space missions are made possible by the power of their processor chips. ESA’s coming Alphasat telecom satellite, the Proba-V microsatellite, the Earth-monitoring Sentinel family and the BepiColombo mission to Mercury are among the first missions to use an advanced 32-bit microprocessor – engineered and built in Europe.

All of them incorporate the new LEON2-FT chip, commercially known as the AT697. Engineered to operate within spacecraft computers, this microprocessor is manufactured by Atmel in France but originally designed by ESA.

To give an idea of the kind of complex factors involved in its design, the ‘FT’ in its name stands for ‘fault tolerant’, meaning it can withstand the random memory ‘bit flips’ due to space radiation.

Read more: LEON: the space chip that Europe built / Space Engineering / Our Activities / ESA.

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