TAG CHIPS LEAVE FOR MARS
The following are portions of a recent NASA press release:
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Mars Polar Lander Mission Status
January 3, 1999
"Mars Polar Lander -- due to become the first spacecraft to
set down near the edge of Mars' southern polar cap -- pierced through a blustery,
cloud-covered Florida sky at 3:21 p.m. Eastern Standard Time today atop a Delta II launch
vehicle from Cape Canaveral Air Station's Launch Complex 17B. The spacecraft, launched
successfully on the first day of the launch period, is equipped with a robotic arm to dig
beneath the layered terrain of the Martian polar region and two microprobes to crash into
the planet's surface and conduct two days of soil and water experiments up to 1 meter (3
feet) below the Martian surface."
"Mars Polar Lander is the second of two spacecraft launched to
the red planet during the December 1998-January 1999 Mars launch opportunity. Mars Climate
Orbiter was launched December 11, and is scheduled to reach Mars next September 23.
Onboard Mars Polar Lander are two microprobes developed as the Deep Space 2 project under
NASA's New Millennium Program. The Deep Space 2 probes will smash into the Martian surface
as a test of new technologies for future planetary descent probes."
TAG was responsible for the design of a CMOS mixed signal
integrated circuit which is carried by each of the two microprobes as well as a companion
thin film resistor chip. Each CMOS monolithic integrated circuit contains analog
multiplexers, references and regulators, an analog-to-digital converter and eight 10-bit
digital-to-analog converters. The devices also carry microprocessor interface electronics
and power management circuits. The circuits must operate at an ambient temperature of
approximately -120C and consume minimum power to prolong the life expectancy of the
battery powered experiment.
Further information can be obtained from the JPL/NASA web site:
The the two Deep Space 2 vehicles will free fall into Mars. During decent
they will measure barometric pressure, temperature and deceleration. At impact they will
measure deceleration and impact-shock. Measurements will continue as long as battery power
lasts. The TAG designed integrated circuit contains a forty eight channel analog
multiplexer. Thirty five channels (two banks of sixteen plus three spares) are available
for system use. The remaining channels are used to monitor the output of eight 10-bit
digital-to-analog converters on the chip as well as internal reference voltages and a
thermometer circuit. Selected user channels are routed to an analog-to-digital converter
on the chip. Input/output data are passed to a companion microprocessor over a 12-bit
When the microprobes impact Mars at a speed of approximately 400 MPH,
the aft body remains at the surface and the fore body penetrates into the Martian soil for
as much as a meter or more. A cable is played out between the fore body and the aft body
which contains a radio transceiver as well as other scientific experiments. Data are
transmitted to the orbiting vehicle to be relayed to earth.
The microcontroller project involved major contributions from
several contractors including Mission Research Corporation, Boeing and GE -- to name just
a few. Many more companies were involved in the overall microprobe project.
level of integration in the project is illustrated in the image of the micro-controller
board at the right which contains a microprocessor, Non-volatile Read/Write Memory, Random
Access Memory, clock and power electronics. The only features that are visible in the
image are power supply bypass capacitors and electrical connections at the edge of the
board. The TAG chip, microprocessor, memory devices, etc. are buried in the
multi-chip-module assembly (green board).
Artwork for this web page has been obtained from the NASA project
site. The content of this page is for information only is not meant to imply NASA
endorsement of TAG or any of the other participants in the project.
TAG FLIES IN THE F22
The following are portions of a recent TRW press release:
Tuesday August 18, 10:30 am Eastern Time
Company Press Release
TRW Delivers Initial F-22 Avionics System
"SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 18, 1998--TRW has reached an
important milestone by successfully delivering a communications, navigation and
identification (CNI) avionics system to the Air Force to be used on the F-22 fighter jet,
which began the flight test phase of the program in 1997."
"This unique design approach uses integrated electronics, with
multiple processing and radio functions performed by a robust, wideband set of general
purpose electronics. The system is capable of reconfiguring its components to counteract
faults and failures -- even those caused by battle damage -- enabling pilots to
continue their mission and return safely."
TAG participated with LSI Logic in the development of a VLSI CMOS
mixed signal integrated circuit used in this program. The TAG design includes an analog
multiplexer and analog-to-digital converter that is used in the health monitoring
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