BAE Systems computer powers NASA missions to the moon, Mars

MANASSAS, Va., 23 June 2009. A BAE Systems computer is at the core of a strategic NASA mission for space exploration, says a company representative. The company's RAD750 microprocessor powers NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite as the spacecraft surveys the moon's environment.

Jun 23rd, 2009

MANASSAS, Va., 23 June 2009. A BAE Systems computer is at the core of a strategic NASA mission for space exploration, says a company representative. The company's RAD750 microprocessor powers NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite as the spacecraft surveys the moon's environment.

The missions launched together from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on June 18.

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is the first mission in NASA's Vision for Space Exploration initiative, a plan to return to the moon, Mars, and beyond. The orbiter will gather information on the lunar environment to prepare astronauts for long-duration lunar stays. The spacecraft will spend a year in orbit just 31 miles above the moon's surface, while its instruments survey the environment and look for safe landing sites and potential resources.

"The RAD750 is the most advanced microprocessor offered to the space community," says Vic Scuderi, manager of satellite electronics for BAE Systems in Manassas, Va. "This version incorporates our RAD750 processor and BAE Systems' new SpaceWire high-speed interface. In addition to surviving the rigors of lunar exploration and mapping, SpaceWire offers scientists the ability to format and download massive amounts of data to support the missions."

The Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, is intended to confirm the presence of water or ice on the moon's south pole, a discovery crucial to the future of human activities there. LCROSS will do this by excavating the dark floor of one of the moon's polar craters to see if ice lies underneath, says a representative.

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