Maxwell Technologies Space Computers Provide Processing Power For European Space Agency Astronomy Mission To Map The Milky Way

  Maxwell Technologies Space Computers Provide Processing Power For European
          Space Agency Astronomy Mission To Map The Milky Way Galaxy

PR Newswire

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 6, 2014

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Maxwell Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq:
MXWL) supplied seven powerful single board computers that are providing
processing power for the European Space Agency's (ESA) Gaia satellite, which
lifted off on December 19, 2013, to survey more than a billion stars and other
celestial bodies to trace the origin and evolution of the Milky Way galaxy.


Gaia is a key European space mission financed and implemented by ESA. Gaia
was developed by European aerospace companies, with Airbus Defence and Space
France-based unit, formerly known as Astrium, as prime contractor and payload
supplier. Maxwell supplied the computers through a $3 million subcontract with
Airbus Defence and Space's United Kingdom-based satellite unit, which designed
and manufactured Gaia's seven video processing units (VPU).

The Maxwell SCS750 space computers, which are incorporated into Gaia's VPUs,
are operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week to process images and data
gathered by the two-ton satellite's two telescopes and billion-pixel digital
camera. The massive volume of data that will be collected during the five-year
ESA mission and the precision of the imaging instrumentation will enable
scientists to create a three-dimensional map of the galaxy and study its
formation with unprecedented detail and accuracy.

Peter Bennie, Airbus Defence and Space's project team leader, said, "the
satellite will observe and record the motion, brightness, temperature and
composition of a billion or more stars 70 times each over the life of the
mission. After our exhaustive evaluation of available space-qualified
computers we determined that Maxwell's SCS750 was the only single board
computer that could meet both our video processing requirements and Gaia's
power and mass constraints."

The satellite was launched into an orbit at Lagrange point 2, which is 1.5
million kilometers (932,000 miles) into space on the "night side" of the Earth
so that it is shielded from glare from the Earth, sun and moon that otherwise
would interfere with image and data collection. ESA officials expect the
information gathered by the Gaia mission to have an impact on astronomy
comparable to that of weather satellites to meteorology or genome mapping to
the study of genetics.

Proprietary component shielding technology and system-level architecture
enable Maxwell's SCS750 to withstand the effects of environmental radiation
encountered in space to provide the most reliable space computer currently
available. It is based on a "triple modular redundancy architecture in which
three commercial IBM PowerPC 750® processors run the same program at all times
and "vote" on each operation. If one of the processors suffers a
radiation-induced upset and disagrees with the other two, the system is
automatically resynchronized and resumes error-free operation.

About ESA: The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe's gateway to space. It is
an inter-governmental organization, created in 1975, with the mission to shape
the development of Europe's space capability and ensure that investment in
space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

About Airbus Defence and Space: Airbus Defence and Space is Europe's No.1
defense and space company. Worldwide, it ranks second for space and is among
the top ten defense companies, with revenues of approximately €14 billion per

About Maxwell: Maxwell Technologies is a global leader in the development and
manufacture of innovative, cost-effective energy storage and power delivery
solutions. Our ultracapacitor products provide safe and reliable power
solutions for applications in consumer and industrial electronics,
transportation and telecommunications. Our CONDIS® high-voltage grading and
coupling capacitors help to ensure the safety and reliability of electric
utility infrastructure and other applications involving transport,
distribution and measurement of high-voltage electrical energy. Our
radiation-mitigated microelectronic products include power modules, memory
modules and single board computers that incorporate powerful commercial
silicon for superior performance and high reliability in aerospace
applications. For more information visit


Media: Rachel Sullivan, Metis Communications: +1 (617) 236-0500;
Investor: Michael Sund: +1 (858) 503-3233;
Sales/Technical: Michael Dowd: +1(858) 503-3327;

SOURCE Maxwell Technologies, Inc.

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