De-RISC to Create First RISC-V, Fully European Platform for Space

Combining a multicore system-on-chip by leading space solutions provider Cobham Gaisler with fentISS’ space-qualified XtratuM hypervisor, De-RISC will create a market-ready platform to power future space and aeronautical applications with made-in-Europe technology.

Thanks to Barcelona Supercomputing Center’s proven multicore interference mitigation techniques, the platform will offer high-performance operation with dramatically reduced interference. Meanwhile, Thales, will test the platform on real aerospace applications. 

“With the first RISC-V based, fully European platform for space, De-RISC will guarantee access to made-in-Europe technology for aerospace applications, thus contributing to the “Technologies for European non-dependence and competitiveness” programme in these strategic markets,” said Paco Gomez Molinero, chief executive officer of fentISS and coordinator of the De-RISC project.

The use of RISC-V will also help to future-proof the platform, thanks to an ever-increasing support for the open-source instruction set architecture (ISA), at a time when the proprietary PowerPC and SPARC architectures traditionally used in aviation and space systems are experiencing a loss of momentum. As a result, the space industry is not able to leverage software from the commercial domains, fuelling a need to shift to architectures present in higher volume commercial markets. The final platform will be portable to other architectures, and it will also provide superior fault tolerance.

The four partners together represent a formidable team for computing in space. Cobham Gaisler is one of the main providers of processors for the European Space Agency (ESA), while the fentISS XtratuM hypervisor has been used in the latest generation of ”NewSpace” satellites. Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) has a portfolio of projects developing technologies for space. Meanwhile, Thales’ experience in designing, operating and delivering satellite-based systems make them well-placed to validate the technology for space applications.