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Wind River Carrier-Grade Linux Goes To Space

The Dependable Multiprocessor will allow the spacecraft to process and analyze its own data to make instant decisions about what is observed without having to send the information to Earth and wait for a reply.
by Staff Writers
Alameda CA (SPX) Jun 19, 2007
Wind River Systems has been selected by Honeywell Aerospace to support the development of NASA''s New Millennium Program Space Technology 8 (ST8) Dependable Multiprocessor. The contract marks the first time a Linux platform has been selected by Honeywell for a space mission. Honeywell Aerospace is the prime contractor for NASA''s ST8 Dependable Multiprocessor project.

Wind River Platform for Network Equipment, Linux Edition, will be the underlying operating system to support the processing of science and experiment data onboard the ST8 spacecraft.

The Dependable Multiprocessor is a game-changing technology that will create a new generation of "smart" spacecraft and robotics for future exploration missions conducted by NASA.

Composed of a state-of-the-art commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based supercomputer architecture capable of incorporating both on-chip and FPGA-based algorithmic co-processors, Dependable Multiprocessor technology can autonomously and adaptively configure the level of fault tolerance applied to the COTS-based computer system in response to constantly changing mission environments and the criticality of the mission application.

The Dependable Multiprocessor will allow the spacecraft to process and analyze its own data to make instant decisions about what is observed without having to send the information to Earth and wait for a reply.

"Honeywell is pleased to work with Wind River in the development of our Dependable Multiprocessor," said Dr. John R. Samson, Jr., Principal Engineering Fellow at Honeywell Defense and Space.

"As space missions continue to become more complex and demanding, it is critical that the onboard computing equipment be built to handle the intense data processing and analysis that is required.

"As a result of the demonstration of COTS in the ST8 flight experiment, the application of Dependable Multiprocessor technology is expected to yield unparalleled benefits for years to come, particularly in the reduction of development time, cost, and risk of future space systems."

"One of the biggest challenges when developing a dependable multiprocessor is enabling a COTS board to work in the harsh conditions in space," said Rob Hoffman, Vice President and General Manager, Aerospace and Defense at Wind River. "Wind River is thrilled to have been selected by Honeywell for such an incredible project. Customers like Honeywell continue to choose Wind River technology because of our ability to provide dependable, reliable, and most importantly, thoroughly-tested software solutions."

Any material put into space is subject to variable accelerations, mechanical shock and vibration, harsh vacuum conditions, extreme temperatures, and often, intense particle and electromagnetic radiation.

Wind River Platform for Network Equipment, Linux Edition, running in conjunction with GoAhead SelfReliant Software, which provides high availability middleware, and Honeywell''s Dependable Multiprocessing Middleware on Extreme Engineering Solutions'' XPedite6031 boards, will support the demonstration of high availability and high reliability operation for the ST8 Dependable Multiprocessor experiment.

The ST8 mission is scheduled for launch in November 2009, with an expected duration of at least seven months consisting of two phases, including a one-month commissioning phase and a six-month experiment phase. The mission consists of four independent experiments, including the Dependable Multiprocessor on a common spacecraft bus being provided by Orbital Sciences Corporation.

The Dependable Multiprocessor experiment will validate a computer system architectural approach that allows application flexibility by applying robust control of the high performance COTS cluster, enhanced software-based SEU (Single Event Upset) tolerance, and user-selectable redundancy only to the level required by the environment and the criticality of the task or computation.

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Thales To Provide S-Band Transponders Argentina Saocom and Aquarius Missions
Paris, France (SPX) Jun 13, 2007
Thales Alenia Space, through its subsidiary Thales Alenia Space Espana, has been awarded two contracts for the development and supply of S-band TTC transponders dedicated to Saocom and Aquarius/SAC-D Earth observation satellites. It is the first time that Thales Alenia Space will provide equipments for both Argentina's INVAP company and CONAE space agency. The Saocom satellite series are Argentina's first remote sensing mission carrying a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) as main payload.

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