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Wind River VxWorks 653 powers flight and command computers for NASA Ares launch vehicles

Posted by Courtney Howard

ALAMEDA, Calif., 17 Dec. 2009. NASA officials have selected Wind River VxWorks 653 as the real-time operating system for the flight and command computers in the Ares I and Ares V next-generation launch vehicles.

VxWorks 653 will be the cornerstone for the Instrument Unit Avionics (IUA), providing guidance, navigation, and control capabilities for the upcoming Ares I manned launch vehicle and the Ares V cargo vehicle, which will send future astronauts and large-scale hardware into orbit, reveals a company representative.

The Ares I rocket is a crew launch vehicle in development for NASA's Constellation program. It is considered the core of a space transportation system that will carry crewed missions to the moon and into the solar system. Ares V is NASA's cargo launch vehicle and the "heavy lifter" of America's next-generation space fleet, serving as NASA's primary vessel for safe, reliable delivery of large-scale hardware into space, adds the representative.

"The aerospace and defense industry requires reliable, effective software tools that comply with rigorous certification requirements," says Rob Hoffman, vice president and general manager, aerospace and defense, Wind River. "Wind River has worked with NASA for more than two decades and the inclusion of VxWorks 653 in the Ares launch vehicles underscores our commitment to providing aerospace customers with the robust mission-critical device software that they need."

The Wind River VxWorks 653 platform delivers the ARINC 653 integrated modular avionics (IMA) foundation to address the safety requirements of mission-critical applications, while enabling the use of noncritical applications on shared computer platforms. It is coupled with RTCA DO-178B Level A certification evidence that enables rapid acceptance by global safety certification authorities or internal review processes, according to a company official.

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