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The use of commercial electronic components is increasingly attractive for the space domain. This paper discusses the current degree of use of these components in space avionics, the selection and qualification phases to be successfully completed before they can be used, and an overview of the constraints the designers of hardware and software architectures have to face regarding these components, with the corresponding solutions. Concerning the issue of upsets, this paper describes possible solutions at architecture and system level and illustrates them with real examples that have already flown or are being developed. The constraints inherent in space avionics do not allow the total performance range of commercial electronic components to be fully exploited; nevertheless, these components - and particularly microprocessors, on which this paper focuses - are among the technologies having a potential disruptive capability for future space missions.