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Radiation Hardened Intel Pentium Chip



For those readers who may have missed or not seen this 
recent NASA / JPL news release.

G. Beat
W9GB
------------------------------------------------------
MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109 TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov

Contact: John G. Watson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                           December 8, 1998

NASA TO HAVE ACCESS TO RADIATION-HARDENED PENTIUM CHIP

     NASA and other federal agencies will soon have access to the 
technology for a radiation-hardened version of Intel's Pentium 
chip for use in future missions. 

     Intel Corp. announced today that it will provide a royalty-
free license for its Pentium processor design to the Department 
of Energy for the development of custom-made microprocessors for 
space and defense purposes.  The agreement provides the 
government with a ten-fold increase in processing power over the 
highest-performing currently available radiation-hardened chips. 
Radiation hardening is required to shield systems and 
applications from radiation, such as cosmic rays, which affect 
the reliability of conventional electronics.

     "The successful development of this new chip will bring 
advanced computing capability to our missions in deep space where 
the radiation environment is much too severe for commercial 
devices," said Dr. Edward C. Stone, director of NASA's Jet 
Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA. 

     NASA's Deep Space Systems Technology Development Program, 
known as X2000, will serve as one of several Department of Energy 
partners to develop chip applications, in this case applications 
specific to future NASA missions.  The program is intended to 
develop and deliver advanced spacecraft systems and avionics 
technologies to missions bound for different destinations in the 
solar system and beyond.

     "High-performance radiation-hardened processors will enable 
many future space missions, both deep space and Earth-orbiting," 
said Dr. Leon Alkalai, head of JPL's Center for Integrated Space 
Microsystems, an element of the X2000 program.  "This technology 
is cross-cutting within all of NASA's enterprises, including 
space science, Earth science, aeronautics, and human exploration 
and development of space."

     In a ceremony at Intel's headquarters in Santa Clara, CA, 
Intel said it would license the chip design to Sandia National 
Laboratories, the U.S. Department of Energy's lead facility for 
microelectronics research and development.  Sandia will develop a 
custom radiation-hardened version of the Pentium processor for 
use in satellites, space vehicles and defense systems.  A key 
goal of the agreement is the eventual transition of the 
technology into the commercial radiation-hardened semiconductor 
fabrication industry.

     The Pentium processor redesign effort will involve several 
government agencies and laboratories that are expected to use the 
increased computing power for a variety of applications.  JPL, 
the Department of Energy, the Air Force Research Laboratory and 
the National Reconnaissance Office are the initial institutions 
with applications for future use.  Among those applications will 
be Earth satellites, space probes, radiation environments on 
Earth, missile defense and advanced military systems.

     JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, 
Pasadena, CA.

    #####

Related public affairs contacts:

Larry Perrine                                                       
Sandia National Laboratories
(505) 845-8511                                                   
  
Art Haubold                                             
National Reconnaissance Office
(703) 808-1015

Bill Calder
Intel Corp.
(503) 264-5669

Stuart Nagurka
Department of Energy
(202) 586-4940

John Brownlee
Air Force Research Laboratory
(505) 853-3515

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