Comet collision mission used microprocessor from BAE Systems

MANASSAS, Va., 11 July 2005. BAE Systems' radiation-hardened microprocessors enabled the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) a first-ever glimpse beneath the surface of a comet.

MANASSAS, Va., 11 July 2005. BAE Systems' radiation-hardened microprocessors enabled the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) a first-ever glimpse beneath the surface of a comet.

The RAD750 single board computers are a vital component of NASA's Deep Impact Mission, the first to study the surface and nucleus of a comet.

On July 3, the Deep Impact spacecraft separated into two parts, an impactor spacecraft and a flyby spacecraft. The impactor set a collision course to the comet while the flyby spacecraft performed a "deflection maneuver" and placed itself a safe distance and angle from the impact.

Two RAD750 computers onboard the flyby spacecraft helped navigate the satellite to the comet and maintain precise positioning while the advanced telescopes on-board recorded the collision and its result. A single RAD750 computer on the impactor performed the final trajectory corrections and altitude control to place it in the required position for the comet collision.

The mission was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla, on Jan. 12.

BAE Systems has a 20-year history of providing radiation-hardened solutions for U.S. space programs. Its RAD6000 computers were installed on each of the still-broadcasting Mars Rovers -- the only control and data computers aboard the two Rovers -- to execute flight, landing and exploration operations on that planet. The RAD750 represents the next-generation of space microprocessors.

It is a pioneer in technology with a heritage stretching back hundreds of years and is at the forefront of innovation, working to develop the next generation of intelligent defense systems. BAE Systems has major operations across five continents and customers in some 130 countries. The company employs nearly 100,000 people and generates annual sales of approximately $25 billion through its wholly owned and joint-venture operations. For more information, see www.iews.na.baesystems.com.

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