Engineers at Orbital Sciences in Dulles, Va., needed a VME system for their central flight computer on their X-34 re-usable launch vehicle. They found their answer with a 68030-based, conduction-cooled VMEbus computer system from SBS Embedded Systems in Raleigh, N.C.
The computer system also is the central flight control on Orbital`s air-launched satellite launch vehicle. X-34 is different from Pegasus in that it returns to Earth under controlled flight for re-use while Pegasus is expendable.
The computer reads data from an onboard inertial navigation system for vehicle position and attitude, and provides vehicle autopilot, guidance, and navigation control through position commands to flight-control surfaces or rocket nozzles.
The system I/O includes 68032 multi-protocol serial I/O boards with 12 RS-422 serial communications interfaces, and 32 opto-insulated 28 VDC discrete inputs and outputs.
The system has a temperature range of -40 to 71 degrees Celsius with thermal vacuum operation. It also has a low-weight dip-brazed chassis design with MIL-C-38999 I/O connectors.
The flight computer has flown 23 missions since 1994, SBS officials say. — J.M.
For information on the SBS flight computer contact Doug Patterson by phone at 540-391-8101, by e-mail at dpatterson@ldg. com, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.sbs.com.