SAN JOSE, Calif., May 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- ZiLOG(R), Inc.,
(Nasdaq: ZILG) a leading provider of integrated microcontrollers (MCUs) and
universal remote control solutions, today announced that it is providing a
range of its award-winning 8-bit microcontroller solutions and development
tools to support a team of 30 innovative students from the University of
British Columbia (UBC) in their bid to win the 2006 NASA Beam Power
Challenge space elevator design competition.
The $400,000 NASA-backed competition, part of the larger "Space
Elevator:2010" project organized by the Spaceward Foundation, is now in its
second year. The project aims to develop a space elevator prototype robot
that will be the basis for a commercial space elevator, which would
eventually provide transport to and from space at around five per cent of
the cost of current methods (i.e., the Space Shuttle). ZiLOG is lending its
full support to the UBC's "Team Snowstar" in its bid to win the challenge
by supplying its eZ80Acclaim!(R), Z8 Encore! MC(TM) and Z8 Encore!(R) 8-bit
MCU solutions and development kits, plus consultation and technical
Team Snowstar is competing against 19 other teams from around the world
in the 2006 Space Elevator Games, which will be held at NASA's Ames
Research Center in Mountain View, CA, in August. Teams entering the
challenge must provide an autonomous, intelligent space elevator robot to
climb the cable. It must be powered wirelessly from a ground-based power
beaming station. Teams must also design and build a power beaming mechanism
to power the climber. Although no team met the prize requirements of the
2005 Challenge, Team Snowstar's machine was among the most successful and
was named "Most Likely To Win" in 2006.
The MCUs provided by ZiLOG illustrate the versatility of the company's
portfolio of products, with each performing a differing but equally
critical function within the Snowstar project. The eZ80Acclaim! MCU, for
example, will act as the central controller for the robotic vehicle and
will provide the main communications interface to the ground to complete
the beam control feedback loop. MCUs from the Z8 Encore! family will
control subsystems and monitor the photovoltaic cell array, which powers
the unit. Finally, a microcontroller from the recently-launched Z8 Encore!
MC family will work to control the brushless DC motor that will be used to
efficiently climb up the cable. ZiLOG is also supplying Team Snowstar with
application development kits, including include evaluation boards,
debuggers and ZiLOG's ZDS II Integrated Development Environment, which
includes C Compiler.
Commenting on ZiLOG's sponsorship of UBC Snowstar, ZiLOG chairman and
CEO Jim Thorburn said: "ZiLOG has a long history of commitment to, and
support for, educational endeavors and innovative projects -- from design
contests to the Hubble telescope. To provide our MCUs and development tools
to Team Snowstar for such an exciting project has really caught the
imagination of the team here at ZiLOG and shows the multiple applications
that our product portfolio is ideally suited for. We wish the team every
success and look forward to supporting them further in future."
"The support that ZiLOG is providing has been very important to us,"
added Steven Jones, Leader of Team Snowstar. "Our team required a very
reliable solution that would be quick to implement and ZiLOG was able to
provide it. The high performance and low footprint of the ZiLOG
microcontrollers allow us to meet the demanding requirements of the
competition. In addition, the wide range of development kits supplied by
ZiLOG are very comprehensive and provide an easy to use development
environment, enabling us to complete our system on the bench before our
PCBs are made. Our system has a diverse range of requirements and the ZiLOG
product line up has solutions for every type of problem that we will face."
ZiLOG's involvement with Team Snowstar also drew praise from Ben
Shelef, Founder of the Spaceward Foundation. "We are pleased to see ZiLOG
as a sponsor for one of the university teams competing in our 2006 Space
Elevator Games," said Shelef. "As an educational non-profit organization,
we share their view that educating the next generation of engineers and
scientists is one of the best ways to keep America at the forefront of
The Space Elevator Concept*
-- The Space Elevator is a thin ribbon, with a cross-section area
roughly half that of a pencil, extending from a ship-borne anchor to a
counterweight well beyond geo-synchronous orbit.
-- The ribbon is kept taut due to the rotation of the earth (and that
of the counterweight around the earth). At its bottom, it pulls up on the
anchor with a force of about 20 tons.
-- Electric vehicles, called climbers, ascend the ribbon using
electricity generated by solar panels and a ground based booster light
-- In addition to lifting payloads from earth to orbit, the elevator
can also release them directly into lunar-injection or earth-escape
-- The baseline system weighs about 1500 tons (including counterweight)
and can carry up to 15 ton payloads, easily one per day.
-- The ribbon is 62,000 miles long, about three feet wide, and is
thinner than a sheet of paper. It is made out of a carbon nanotube
-- The climbers travel at a steady 200 kilometers per hour (120 MPH),
do not undergo accelerations and vibrations, can carry large and fragile
payloads, and have no propellant stored onboard.
-- Orbital debris is avoided by moving the anchor ship, and the ribbon
itself is made resilient to local space debris damage.
-- The elevator can increase its own payload capacity by adding ribbon
layers to itself. There is no limit on how large a Space Elevator can be.
*Courtesy of the Spaceward Foundation
1. To find out more about ZiLOG's portfolio of MCUs and development tools
and software, log onto www.zilog.com
2. Further information on Team Snowstar can be found at www.snowstar.ca
3. For more on the Space Elevator Challenge, check out
4. You can find out more about the Spaceward Foundation at
About ZiLOG, Inc.
ZiLOG, Inc. Founded in 1974, ZiLOG won international acclaim for
designing one of the first architectures in the microprocessors and
microcontrollers industry. Today, ZiLOG is a leading global supplier of
8-bit micro logic devices. It designs, manufactures and markets a broad
portfolio of devices for embedded control and communication applications
used in consumer electronics, home appliances, security systems, point of
sales terminals, personal computer peripherals, as well as industrial and
automotive applications. ZiLOG is headquartered in San Jose, California,
and employs approximately 500 people worldwide with sales offices
throughout Asia, Europe and North America.
For more information about ZiLOG and its products, visit the Company's
website at: www.ZiLOG.com. ZiLOG, eZ80Acclaim, Z8 Encore! and Z8 Encore! MC
are trademarks or registered trademarks of ZiLOG, Inc. in the United States
and in other countries.
SOURCE ZiLOG, Inc.