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Radiation Tolerant Kintex UltraScale FPGA: One Small Step for Xilinx, Three Giant Leaps for Nodes

Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee
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By Gabe Dominguez, Technical Sales Engineer for Aerospace & Defense at Xilinx



Just a week ago, Xilinx announced the arrival of Radiation Tolerant (RT) Kintex UltraScale (XQRKU060), our newest addition to the Space-Grade (XQR) portfolio. The new device enables a broader array of functionality and delivers a significant increase in performance compared to our previous generations and other FPGA vendors. By adding an UltraScale device, we are skipping three process nodes from 65nm to 20nm. The product table below shows how RT Kintex® UltraScale™ stacks up to our previous XQR devices, Virtex®-4QV (V4QV) and Virtex-5QV (V5QV).

Table 1: Space-Grade Product TableTable 1: Space-Grade Product Table


Today, satellites are expected to perform on-board processing (OBP) with a capability of extensive on-orbit reconfiguration. To meet these standards, we developed a rad-tolerant FPGA with an increase of 10X in programmable logic, 10X in digital signal processing (DSP), and 5X in transceivers (MGTs) over V5QV. Additionally, the new device has a reduced footprint with robust ceramic column grid array (CCGA) packaging. XQRKU060 effectively combines four V5QV FPGAs into a singular, smaller chip.

RT Kintex UltraScale FPGA brings with it a platform that enables all developers in the space industry. The new platform allows our space customers to develop their designs on our ASIC-class Vivado® Design Suite and revolutionary Vitis™ Unified Software Platform. Space engineers can easily add in a Microblaze™ Triple Modular Redundancy (TMR) to their systems for high reliability embedded processing. Furthermore, they will now be able use to Vitis AI to develop machine learning applications for high-performance neural network acceleration. We are bringing machine learning to space!

Figure 1: RT Kintex UltraScale PlatformFigure 1: RT Kintex UltraScale Platform


It’s been 10 years since we’ve announced a space-grade device, so we are excited about the new addition of RT Kintex UltraScale. We will begin shipping in September, so stop by the RT Kintex UltraScale product page at and download the white paper to learn how you can start developing today. You can also visit the space lounge for detailed information. If you haven’t seen it yet, treat yourself by watching our launch video.




This table needs some work. Despite that the multiplication factors are inaccurate, the "Total Block RAM" format changes for the KU060 and there are no "BRAM/FIFO with ECC" for the V5.

Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee

Very interesting and innovative product! I really like the "One Small Step …  Three Giant Leaps" - nice word play on relevant phases Gabe.  How did Xilinx time this announcement to be so close to the SpaceX Crew Dragon launch?

Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee


Thank you for reading our blog. The first call out got shifted up one row. We updated the product table. The reason why there are additional rows in the product table is that we want to highlight additional features in the KU060.