Aitech Defense Systems is providing two key embedded processing components for the Ares I launch vehicle’s Instrument Unit Avionics (IUA) Flight Computer (FC) and Command Telemetry Computer (CTC) systems under a contract to Ball Aerospace & Technologies.
Aitech’s next-generation S950 single board computer (SBC) and new S750 PCI mezzanine card (PMC) will be used in a triple-redundant configuration to provide flight control redundancy in the IUA FC function. The new S950 SBC offers a faster 1 GHz processing engine and an increase of more than 20% in performance than the previous version. Aitech's S750 four-port Gigabit Ethernet PMC, hosted on the S950 SBC as a single-slot CompactPCI card set, will relay high-speed imaging data to the crew exploration vehicle’s solid state recorder and ground support system.
As with most of Aitech’s products, both radiation-tolerant cards are optimized for a wide variety of applications in low- and high-Earth orbit space vehicles such as flight computer and control, engine control and rocket staging, robotic manipulator control, and instrument interface units. The cards are also used in command and telemetry control, attitude and combustion control, payload control, solar array and directional control, as well as solar array drive electronics.
The Ares I first-stage vehicle booster launches the Orion CEV, which will join other elements of NASA’s Constellation program to again send astronauts to the moon by 2020. The IUA FC and CTC provide the guidance, navigation, and control hardware for the new Ares I crew launch vehicle, serving as the vehicle’s control subsystem during the rocket’s ascent to orbit.