CAFS - Commercial ASIC Foundries for Space Applications

The main goal is to optimise the cost function of such a commercial ASIC component qualification for space use by understanding all technological constraints. The results enable us to guide and support a subcontractor, which is inexperienced in space technologies, due to its background in the terrestrial market.

Short Description

In contrast to the digital ASIC domain, no space qualified analog ASIC processes and foundries are available in Europe. Thus, in order to achieve ITAR-free products, the use of commercial ASIC technologies and processes for space applications represents a highly innovative and attractive approach. However, the use of commercial non-space ASICs requires special design measures to achieve the required radiation tolerance on the one side and on the other side special measures need to be taken and application of rules are to be followed for the manufacturing and testing of the components. While RUAG Space GmbH (RSA) has already gained experience in the design area, the ‘qualification’ of the ASIC part is the substance of subject activity.

The challenging requirements for the qualification of an ASIC produced in a commercial ASIC foundry have been investigated selecting the qualification of the G3RF ASIC of our subcontractor Saphyrion (CH) as the test case of this study.

The results are compiled in a handbook and templates, which summarize the know-how built up in this activity and shall facilitate development of own ASIC designs at a commercial foundry. Specific expertise has been acquired in the areas of foundry process, packaging, testing and radiation performance. Besides a survey of possible test and packaging houses, the handbook includes a chapter on lessons learned and precautions to be taken in future applications.

Our partner in this study, the Institute of Electronics of TU Graz, contributed its vast know-how of analog ASIC design, related ASIC foundries and applicable commercial quality standards. We compared quality standards applicable in the automotive and medical industry with the ESA quality standard in order to point out where the real differences are, which are to be considered.

Project Partners


RUAG Space GmbH - Gerhard Osterseher


Graz University of Technology, Institute of Electronics (IFE) - Univ. Prof. Wolfgang Pribyl

Contact Address

RUAG Space GmbH
Gerhard Osterseher
Stachegasse 16
A-1120 Vienna
Tel.: +43 (1) 80199 2290