Ball selects Aitech real-time embedded components for Ares I rocket

Officials at Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo., needed embedded computing components for its work on the Ares I launch vehicle. They found the necesary solutions at Aitech Defense Systems Inc. in Chatsworth, Calif.

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Aitech won a contract to deliver real-time embedded systems processing components for the Ares I launch vehicle’s instrument unit avionics computer and command telemetry computer systems. Aitech delivered its S950 single-board computer and S750 PCI mezzanine card (PMC) to Ball Aerospace for a triple-redundant embedded computing configuration to provide flight control redundancy in the instrument avionics flight computer.

The S950 embedded computer has a 1 GHz processing engine. The Aitech S750 four-port Gigabit Ethernet PMC, hosted on the S950 embedded processor as a one-slot CompactPCI card set, will relay high-speed imaging data to the crew exploration vehicle’s solid-state recorder and ground support system.

“Using Aitech’s components has allowed the program to advance several notches up the technology scale and will save significant amounts of development costs,” says Randall Coffey, Ball Aerospace ARES IAU program manager. “These are two important aspects of space-related programs.”

Aitech’s embedded systems are certified for manned space flight where maintaining minimal out-gassing is crucial. Both radiation-tolerant cards are optimized for use in low- and high-Earth orbit in applications, such as flight computer and control, engine control, and rocket staging, robotic manipulator control, and instrument interface units.

The cards also are for command and telemetry control, attitude and combustion control, payload control, solar array, and directional control, as well as solar array drive electronics (SADE).

The Ares I first stage vehicle booster launches the Orion crew exploration vehicle, which will join other elements of NASA’s Constellation program to propel astronauts to the moon—and beyond—by 2020.

The instrument avionics flight computer and telemetry computer provide the guidance, navigation, and control hardware for the Ares I crew launch vehicle, serving as the vehicle’s control subsystem during the rocket’s ascent to orbit.

For more information, visit Aitech online at

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Mil & Aero Magazine

February 2015
Volume 26, Issue 2

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