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Renesas Electronics plays role in Japan's lunar landing mission
ICs for data transmission, telemetry, analog signal conditioning and power regulation included in JAXA's SLIM spacecraft electronics.
Renesas Electronics plays role in Japan's lunar landing mission
by Riko Seibo
Tokyo, Japan (SPX) Jan 23, 2024

Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE:6723), a leader in advanced semiconductor solutions, reports that the company's radiation-hardened (rad-hard) integrated circuits (ICs) were integral to the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) spacecraft, which completed a lunar landing on January 20.

Operated by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), SLIM embarked on its journey to the Moon aboard a H-IIA rocket, launching from Tanegashima Space Center in Japan on September 7, 2023. This accomplishment places Japan among a select group of nations - following Russia, the United States, China, and India - that have operated a lunar lander.

The SLIM spacecraft's destination was near the Shioli Crater, in the vicinity of the Sea of Nectar. This mission set out to achieve a new level of precision in lunar landings. Historically, lunar missions have achieved landing accuracy within several kilometers to tens of kilometers.

However, SLIM aimed to significantly surpass this, utilizing a vision-based object detection system and benefitting from its lightweight, compact design. JAXA is in the process of analyzing the specifics of SLIM's landing and intends to release more details in the near future.

This five-month mission has broader scientific objectives, particularly in contributing to our understanding of the Moon's origin. Equipped with a multi-band spectral camera, SLIM is designed to analyze the composition of lunar rocks, providing insights into the Moon's mantle.

Renesas' contribution to the SLIM mission extends to various key components of the spacecraft's integrated computer and electronic subsystems. These components are not only designed to function over a wide temperature range but have also been tested to withstand total ionizing dose radiation rates of up to 300krad(Si).

Among the ICs used in the mission are 3.3V and 5V RS-422 receivers, RS-422 drivers, a 16-channel analog multiplexer, a 40V rail-to-rail operational amplifier, and a 3A low-dropout voltage regulator.

The significance of Renesas' role in space technology is not new. The Renesas Intersil brand, with a history spanning over six decades, has been a part of virtually every major satellite, shuttle launch, and deep-space exploration mission since the founding of Radiation Inc.

in 1950. The brand's experience in delivering efficient, thermally optimized, and highly reliable products is unparalleled, making it a staple in the defense, high-reliability (Hi-Rel), and rad-hard space markets. Renesas Intersil-brand rad-hard ICs are essential for mission-critical applications in various subsystems such as data communications transfer, power supplies and conditioning, general protection circuitry, and telemetry, tracking, and control (TT&C).

The challenges of deep space missions, including SLIM, are manifold, particularly due to the intense radiation environment. To ensure predictable performance and prevent system failure, Renesas focuses on specialized design, layout, process technologies, and manufacturing steps, including burn-in and total dose testing of ICs. These measures are crucial for the success of long-duration robotic and crewed missions to other planets.

Related Links
Renesas' Space And Hi-Reliability Solutions
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

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