Radstone to supply VME avionics for Space Shuttle

Officials at the NASA Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla., needed a high-performance commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) VME architecture for the avionics system of the STS-95 mission on Space Shuttle Discovery - the same mission that will see U.S. Sen. John Glenn return to space.

Radstone to supply VME avionics for Space Shuttle

Officials at the NASA Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla., needed a high-performance commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) VME architecture for the avionics system of the STS-95 mission on Space Shuttle Discovery - the same mission that will see U.S. Sen. John Glenn return to space.

They found their answer with the VMEbus technology from Radstone Technology in Towcester, England.

The Radstone architecture is being considered as the avionics upgrade for the shuttle, says Jack Fox, STS-95 project director. It will open people`s eyes to the capabilities of COTS products, he says.

The system is modular and uses the same platform for various functions, Fox explains. It can be used as a "recorder for mass memory, and plain old data acquisition," he says.

Reported as being the first-ever COTS computer integrated into Space Shuttle Orbiter subsystems, and demonstrating advanced instrumentation and data acquisition technology, Radstone`s products will power the Integrated Vehicle Health Management, Human Exploration, and Development of Space Technology Demonstration (IVHM HTD) flight experiment, Radstone officials say.

IVHM HTD will monitor the "health" of the vehicle by acquiring, processing, and recording data from sensors located on selected subsystems throughout the shuttle. The system will be operational throughout the shuttle`s prelaunch, launch, ascent, and during the 9-day mission. On its return, the mission information will download to enable data analysis of selected flight hardware components.

Radstone`s VMEbus products include a PPC2 conduction-cooled PowerPC 603e single-board computer and conduction-cooled multiprotocol communications controller, supplied with BIT diagnostic firmware and the Wind River VxWorks/ Tornado board support package and drivers.

These will fit into Radstone`s 15-slot, baseplate-conduction-cooled, ATR chassis. Due to harsh environmental conditions and specific NASA requirements, the chassis will have various additional features including a hermetic seal, raised lid, custom front panel, clear anodised finish, and a radiation-hardened power supply.

STS-95 was scheduled for launch last month. A second IVHM HTD flight experiment with additional boards and sensors is planned to fly on Discovery on STS-92 with a planned launch date of 17 June 1999. - J.M.

For more information on Radstone contact Marianne Sanchez by phone at 800-368-2738, by fax at 201-391-2899, by mail at Radstone Technology Corp., 50 Craig Road, Montvale, N.J. 07645-1709, by e-mail at radstone@radstone.com, or on the World Wide Web at http:// www.radstone.com.

More in Computers