BAE SYSTEMS COMPUTERS TO MANAGE DATA PROCESSING AND COMMAND FOR UPCOMING SATELLITE MISSIONS
17 Jun 2008
MANASSAS, Virginia - BAE Systems' new single-board computers will manage the data processing and command-and-control functions of more than a dozen satellites to be launched over the next 18 months. The company produces three generations of single-board computers that are radiation-hardened to withstand the harsh environment of space.
"Numerous missions have selected the BAE Systems RAD750™ computer, the most technologically advanced microprocessor ever offered to the space community," said Vic Scuderi, manager, of satellite electronics, at BAE Systems' Specialty Microelectronics Foundry in Manassas. "They include NASA's recently launched Gamma-Ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) satellite, which uses seven RAD750 computers for command, control, and instrument data processing as it examines gamma-ray bursts for clues to the origins of the solar system."
Another version of the RAD750 was created for NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) missions. To meet NASA's demand for high-speed processing, BAE Systems and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center joined to create a single chip interface based on the SpaceWire standard. The European Space Agency standard is becoming more popular throughout the satellite industry for high-data-rate applications.
BAE Systems offers the SpaceWire chip as a standalone product or as part of the RAD750 single-board computer. Launch of the LRO and LCROSS mission is scheduled for fall 2008.
Among other upcoming missions for RAD750 technology:
* The Department of Defense's Advanced Enhanced High Frequency military communications satellite, scheduled for launch later this year, will use eight RAD750 computers for a variety of functions on the communications payload.
* The recently announced Global Positioning System modernization effort, known as GPS III, will use RAD750 processors in its mission to enhance the system's functionality for consumer, industrial, science, and military users.
* The Mars Science Lab, the next-generation Mars rovers, will use RAD750 as its prime computer. The lab is scheduled for launch in late 2009.
Already on the red planet, BAE Systems' earlier-generation RAD6000™ single-board computers manage the collection and analysis of soil, weather, and imagery aboard the Phoenix Mars Lander, which landed in May after a 10-month journey. The initial Mars Pathfinder rover, Spirit, and Opportunity all relied on the onboard RAD6000 computers for navigation and science data processing.
"More than 200 RAD6000s today operate on satellites in space, and this workhorse will soon be overtaken by its more powerful big brother, the RAD750," Scuderi said. "The new product is up for the challenge."