NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center deploys FutureFLEX air-blown fiber for constellation program

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., 19 May 2008. Sumitomo Electric Lightwave announced the installation of the FutureFLEX Air-blown Fiber LAN infrastructure throughout major facilities at NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center. The use of the Air-blown Fiber system allows the Center to prepare its network for quick and easy implementation of high-bandwidth emerging technologies and other functions for NASA's Constellation Program.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., 19 May 2008. Sumitomo Electric Lightwave announced the installation of the FutureFLEX Air-blown Fiber LAN infrastructure throughout major facilities at NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center. The use of the Air-blown Fiber system allows the Center to prepare its network for quick and easy implementation of high-bandwidth emerging technologies and other functions for NASA's Constellation Program.

The use of the Air-blown Fiber technology follows the deployment of the FutureFLEX Air-blown Fiber system installed at the Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad A, from which the Final Inspection Team for space shuttle Discovery on mission STS-120 had, for the first time, transmitted instant access digital images to the launch managers at the Launch Control Center.

The goals are to develop the most technologically advanced IT network for speed and delivery of communications technologies, new launch processing systems, and use of bandwidth-rich video to support the Constellation Program's current and future requirements.

NASA engineers are positioning empty blown fiber tubes throughout various facilities at Kennedy Space Center, including the Launch Control Center, Vehicle Assembly Building, and the newly remodeled manufacturing facility.

"Our objective at Kennedy Space Center is to build an on-demand network that is ready for anything, including the quick implementation of bandwidth intensive video technologies and new launch systems, and a quick response time for getting crucial projects completed on time and on budget for the Constellation Space Exploration Program," comments Mathew K. Smisor, NASA's telecom systems engineer. "With air blown fiber technology, we can make network expansions, upgrades, and reconfigurations in minutes or hours rather than the days or weeks associated with a traditional fiber optic infrastructure, while having real-time control of bandwidth and network capacity."

"Many of our projects--such as the immediate transmission via fiber of digital images showing the status of ice buildup on the space shuttle Discovery--resolve costly delays and life and death situations if it's a manned spacecraft," explains outside plant engineer Lawrence Wages. "By adopting an air-blown fiber infrastructure, we can quickly and easily make necessary network reconfigurations and changes at nearly a moment's notice and at a fraction of the cost of a conventional fiber optic system, providing us with the means to be more responsive to mission critical situations while being fiscally responsible with budget dollars."

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