Green Mountain Semiconductor Inc. awarded a contract from NASA to Pave the Way for Space-Ready Neural Processors

BURLINGTON, VT–Green Mountain Semiconductor Inc. (GMS), a custom circuit design provider, is proud to announce its recent achievement of a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract. This significant milestone underscores GMS’ commitment to pushing the boundaries of technology in support of space applications. The contract was granted under NASA’s subtopic “Deep Neural Net and Neuromorphic Processors for In-Space Autonomy and Cognition.”


Under the Phase I SBIR, GMS is embarking on a groundbreaking initiative, “A Radiation Hard Neural Processor With Embedded MRAM,” aimed at tackling the critical challenge of radiation resilience in electronic components intended for space missions. GMS’s approach involves the development of an analysis tool to optimize circuit designs for reliability and radiation resistance. This advancement will enable the use of off-the-shelf technology in space applications without the need for excessive design modifications to ensure radiation resistance.


As a pivotal initial step, GMS will concentrate on enhancing its in-house designed memory neural processor, specially tailored for cube-sat format satellite payloads. By harnessing GMS’s extensive expertise in emerging memory technologies and incorporating radiation resistance into the design process, this endeavor promises to revolutionize the accessibility and dependability of neural processors for space missions.


“Through this project, GMS aims to empower companies seeking radiation-hardened solutions by creating a predictive tool for assessing radiation exposure on custom silicon designs,” stated Ryan Jurasek, VP Research & Development at GMS. “Our inaugural application of this tool will focus on optimizing our in-memory neural processor, designed using SOI process with MRAM integration, and intended for testing in a cube-satellite. GMS’s experience will shape the design and optimization of future products, both in space and beyond.”


In an era where the economics of space technology are evolving, GMS recognizes the increasing demand for advanced silicon in space missions. However, the space environment presents inherent challenges, including exposure to cosmic rays, solar flares, and other ionizing radiation sources, which can disrupt electronics and degrade silicon. Radiation testing of commercial products is often costly and raises questions about circuitry utilization and failure statistics. Moreover, off-the-shelf components are not inherently optimized for space applications in terms of size, weight, and power considerations.


GMS is poised to address these challenges by leveraging its in-depth knowledge of emerging memory technologies and developing radiation-resistant solutions by design. This strategic approach positions GMS to meet the growing demand for in-memory neuromorphic design.


GMS’ commitment to innovation, reliability, and technological advancement continues to drive its goal to enhance the efficiency and accessibility of  space exploration. The Phase I SBIR award underscores GMS’s dedication to meeting the evolving needs of the aerospace industry and fostering a new era of space-ready neural processors.


About Green Mountain Semiconductor


Green Mountain Semiconductor is a pioneering semiconductor design provider headquartered in Burlington, Vermont. With a strong focus on emerging technologies and a dedication to excellence, GMS specializes in creating innovative solutions for a wide range of applications, including space technology. The business offers turnkey custom circuit design, characterization, and testing services, with a focus on innovative memory concepts and processing-in-memory architectures. Learn more at greenmountainsemi.com.


For media inquiries, please contact Wolfgang Hokenmaier, President. 802.343.8175  |  [email protected]


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