in Space

BAE Systems' computers guide InSight Mars landing

Posted 10 January 2019 · Add Comment

On November 26, 2018, NASA landed its InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) spacecraft on Mars after a six month journey to the Red Planet, equipped with BAE Systems RAD750 Single Board Computers (SBC) on board.



The lander was built by Lockheed Martin in collaboration with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“Our SBCs commanded a series of critical maneuvers during the six and a half minute entry, descent and landing phase for InSight,” said Jim LaRosa, director of Space Processor and Products. “This mission will bring new understanding of Mars to NASA scientists, and our radiation hardened computers are integral to its success.”

The RAD750 and BAE Systems’ entire suite of SBCs provide next-generation spacecraft with the high-performance onboard processing capability needed to support space missions like InSight - from weather and planetary exploration to communications, surveillance and national security missions. This is the eighth Mars mission enabled by BAE Systems’ family of advanced high-reliability radiation-hardened electronics.

In addition to the proven RAD750, the company’s latest SBC, RAD5545, delivers exponential improvements in size, speed, and power-efficiency over its predecessors. The SpaceVPX RAD5545 is powered by the radiation hardened general purpose System-on-Chip processor, featuring DDR3 SDRAM, Flash memory, Serial RapidIO, Spacewire, and General Purpose IO interfaces, with a fully supported expansion port for a custom interface card. Early deliveries will include a VxWorks 7 Board Support Package with Green Hills INTEGRITY and Linux as future options.

BAE Systems also offers a suite of radiation hardened Serial RapidIO network products, including the RADNET 1848-PS, an 18-Port RapidIO Packet Switch, the RADNET 1616-XP Crosspoint, a protocol agnostic SerDes signal circuit switch and replicator, and the RADNET SRIO-EP, a Serial RapidIO endpoint. These networking devices complement the RAD5545 SBC and allow the user to efficiently manage and route data through the system.

Radiation Hardened Computers are produced at BAE Systems’ facility in Manassas, Virginia. The facility is a US Department of Defense Category 1A Microelectronics Trusted Source. BAE Systems’ radiation-hardened electronics have been on board satellites and spacecraft for almost 30 years, delivering long-lasting computing power in extreme environments. The company has provided more than 900 computers from more than 300 satellites, and has provided the computers that power key national space assets such as Juno and InSight.

 

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