Space Micro Inc

in Space

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Space Micro Inc.






San Diego, California




The Space Micro Inc (SMI) is a high technology firm with a special focus on space and military applications.


Founded in 2002, Space Micro Inc. is a privately held, employee-owned company, with headquarters in San Diego, California, USA. Space Micro has both office and development laboratory space in the high technology Northern San Diego region in a modern 14,000sqft (1,300m2) research, development and production facility.

Space Micro has grown to revenue of $3 million in 2006 and currently has a $4 million or about one year backlog. Our broad customer base includes, in addition to DHS; NASA, DARPA, DTRA, Lockheed Martin, OSD, AFRL and the European Space Agencies. Although the US Government is our major customer, our revenue base is relatively evenly distributed among our customers.

As of April 2007, Space Micro has 31 employees, all but two (2) with technical degrees. SMI supplements our employees with qualified consultants; many having worked with the Space Micro development team for over 10 years. SMI has applied for 16 patents since founding and our staff have received or applied for scores of patents over their careers. Core competencies include broad analogue and digital design expertise particularly for electronic components and board products for applications in Space under radiation environments. SMI has also demonstrated proficiency in the creation of innovative software algorithms and at adapting sophisticated ommercial equipment to the rigorous requirements of military, space and aerospace applications.

Space Electronics Division of Space Micro

The core founder team developed a range of components and board products based on COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) electronic products at Space Electronics, Inc (SEi). SEi started in 1991, whence Total Ionizing Dose (TID) was the main concern. Radiation testing and shielding of bulk silicon based micro-circuits (Rad Pak ) enabled COTS components to be flown in Space. Also, Space radiation hardened computers were designed with shielded components and triple modular redundancy (TMR) to mitigate alpha particle induced radiation upsets common in COTS processors. This was the birth of .the first Radiation Hardened Computer based on the commercial IBM PowerPC processor. SEi was sold to Maxwell Technologies in 1998. This same Space Micro core team then developed a 2nd generation Radiation Hardened Proton100k Computer which is now in orbit aboard the TacSat2 satellite. The enabling technology is an even more efficient one which incorporates time with spatial redundancy and is named Time-Triple Modular Redundancy (TTMR). The 3rd. generation Space Micro Inc. Proton 200k is now available and has been designed into the newest satellites currently in planning and pre-launch stages. This is the World fastest and most energy efficient Radiation Hardened computers utilizing state-of-the-art commercial processors. This contrasts with expensive, specially adapted processors that are usually three or more generations behind but are still being used. Most of these innovative products were developed through the SBIR program supports. Space Micro has 3 functional divisions dealing mostly with radiation related issues: (1) Space Electronics Division; (2 Domestic Security Division; (3) Advanced Materials Division. The Space Electronics Division is involved in board products for spacecrafts (including the Space computer mentioned above). The Domestic Security Division is involved in radiation effects on health and security. The Advanced Materials Division is well versed in Space and Aerospace applications of anomalous condition detection in structures and coatings, including radiation damage detection. SMI was granted a Secret facility clearance by DSS in 2003. Several of our key personnel have been granted Secret clearances, enabling participation in potential classified programs. SMI also has had a DCAA audited and approved overhead rate since 2003; facilitating a timely transition if selected for this Phase II contract.

Space Programs

Space Micro has developed the core technologies for our space Proton computer line under Air Force and NASA funding. During development of these technologies and products, Space Micro performed extensive proton radiation testing of the TTMR and Hardened Core technologies, using the BSP-16 and 320C6713 processors to perform these tests. Both technologies have been successfully tested and reported to NASA and the Air Force, with multiple published IEEE papers presented containing the results. After development of these new and critical radiation mitigation technologies (TTMR and Hardened Core), Space Micro has received contracts for hardware deliverables for the following flight projects:



Air Force RoadRunner Satellite

Proton100k computer currently in orbit

Air Force RoadRunner Satellite

Solid-State Memory,64 Gbit card currently in orbit

AFRL Lockheed Martin ANGELS nanosat

Proton200k computer

DARPA QuickReach Rocket

Proton200k computer

DARPA QuickReach Rocket

Valve Driver card

DARPA QuickReach Rocket

3U cPCI Backplane, Power Supplies/Signal Route

NASA/Space Station Medical Computer

Proton100k computer

MDA/MISTI Flight Experiment

Proton100k computer

ESA/Space Station FASTER program

Proton100k computer

DARPA C&DH Nanosat Computer

Miniaturized Proton200k


Proton300k computer


Rad Hard Star Tracker

Although Proton100k/200k is relatively new, Space Micro has already delivered flight units to the Air Force, plus EM units to the Falcon and ISS programs. Proton200k is now in production. This is the fastest Space computer available, Featuring 4,000MIPS and 1GHz performance under 90% common Space orbit radiation exposure and operating at 8 Watts peak power.

Advanced Materials Division of Space Micro

Space Micro's Advanced Materials Division, AMD, was founded in 2004. The division has traditionally taken the approach of combining COTS or commercial off the shelf technologies in novel ways to solve materials problems for space applications. The technologies come from multiple fields, such as microelectronics, aerospace and academic applied research. The use of existing technologies lends itself to delivering timely research results with a high probability of delivering a successful prototype in Phase II.

The Space Micro core team of materials engineers was originally from Johnson Matthey (later Honeywell Advanced Materials), where they developed a family of electronic materials for the semiconductor packaging industry. This team has now been reunited at Space Micro to support this SBIR research.

The following work displays the breadth of technical capabilities within the Advanced Materials Division at SMI. The table below shows some representative contracts that directly relate to the work proposed for this Phase I program.


Contract Timing



AF04-294 Temperature Sensitive Paint

PH I Apr Nov 2004 PH II Sept 2005 Sept 2007


Temperature Sensitive Paint for Wind Tunnels

AF05-126 QA of Composite Bonding Techniques

PH I Apr Nov 2005


Surface Contaminant Inspection

STTR subcontract Vanguard Composites Group

PH I May Nov 2004 PH II Sept 2005 Mar 2007


Spacecraft Radiation Shielding

SBIR subcontract San Diego Composites

PH I May Sept 2005


Spacecraft Radiation Modeling

AF06-356 Damage Detection and Identification of Adhesive Bonding in Metal Components

PH I May 2006 Nov 2006


NDE field testing of metal airplane structures

O053-A09-2019 Non-Thermally Cured Active Coatings for Anti Tamper Protection

PHI May 2006 - Nov 2006


Anti Tamper

QA Bond Assurance System for Composites Manufacturing

This program designed a system concept to monitor surface cleanliness on composite or metal bonding surfaces. We employed a COTS approach and investigated several available machines that use UV/Visual/IR light or other techniques to fingerprint contaminants. AMD also proposed a novel software approach to scan clean vs. dirty areas and subtract out the difference in the data via image contrast stretching.

Temperature Sensitive Paints (TSP) HiREC TM for Wind Tunnel Testing

AMD has developed a system to globally thermally map aerospace structure models in hypersonic wind tunnels non-obtrusively at temperatures of up to 1200 F. It is a system incorporating sensors, intelligent algorithms, processing electronics, and user interface. The Advanced Materials Division is developing a system that will incorporate our paint, an IR camera of medium (3 to 5 micrometre) or long (7 to 14 micrometre) wavelength along with a real time data logging system using LabVIEW 8.

Damage detection and identification of Adhesive bonding in metal components

The NDE sense technique will employ a heat pulse and/or cooling cycle with IR camera thermography which will see ot spots either on heating or cooling, where there is an interruption of heat flow due to open bonds in the joint. This program was developed with a COTS approach, utilizing existing equipment, based on related work performed at WPAFB.

Radiation Hardened Material Solutions for Space Electronics

AMD designed and built several radiation blocking tiles, employing Hi Z materials for radiation shielding. The material solution was tested against a competing technology and both were found to successfully block radiation. Performance was accurately predicted by mathematical modeling and confirmed in actual experiments.

Research Laboratory Resources

Our Advanced Materials Division research and development laboratory resides within a modern 14,000sqft (1,300m2) office/lab building. The equipment, instrumentation, lab benches, clean room, and physical facility necessary to achieve our technical objectives are minimal and owned by Space Micro Inc., or our subcontractors. Existing lab benches, chemical exhaust hoods, ovens, thermal indicators, ball mills, mechanical testers, dry boxes, chemicals, X-Ray, IR camera, cross section equipment, microscopes, power supplies, and meters are available as required. We also maintain environmental test equipment including burn in, life test, and temperature cycling chambers.

The Advanced Materials Division, through partnering arrangements, has the ability to perform advanced processing at a number of facilities including UCLA, UCI, UCSD, SDSU and NASA. Processes and techniques include Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD), nanotechnology, metallurgical fabrication, wind tunnel testing, SEM and acoustic microscopy.

These facilities meet environmental laws and regulations of Federal, State (California), and local governments for, but not limited to the following groupings: airborne emissions, waterborne effluents, external radiation levels, outdoor noise, solid and bulk waste disposal practices, and handling and storage of toxic and hazardous materials.

Categories: Companies established in 2002 | Companies based in San Diego, California | Technology companiesHidden categories: Articles lacking sources from January 2008 | All articles lacking sources | Wikipedia articles with possible conflicts of interest | NPOV disputes from December 2007 | Articles with a promotional tone from January 2008 | All articles with a promotional tone
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This article was published on 2010/10/09