Nasa begins development of Space Launch System flight software

June 1, 2012

(Phys.org) -- NASA engineers working on the new Space Launch System (SLS) can now begin developing the advanced, heavy-lift launch vehicle's flight software using newly delivered software test bed computers from Boeing.

The SLS will launch NASA's and provide an entirely new capability for human exploration beyond Earth's orbit. Designed to be flexible for crew or cargo missions, SLS and Orion will be safe, affordable, sustainable and continue America's journey of discovery from the unique vantage point of space.

"We are moving out very quickly on SLS," said Todd May, Space Program manager at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. "SLS will be the most powerful launch vehicle ever built, and it requires the most capable flight software in the history of . Having this avionics hardware in place early will allow the NASA SLS team and Boeing to accelerate the flight software development."

The Boeing test bed computers make it possible for NASA to begin fine-tuning the launch vehicle's software. The flight software then will be installed in the Software Integration Test Facility at Marshall and tested with other electrical hardware and software. In this facility, the SLS team can run a variety of simulations to evaluate how the vehicle will perform in space.

The final SLS flight computer that will run the flight software will have the highest processing capability available in a flight avionics computer. It is being developed by upgrading existing systems used in and communication satellites.

The first test flight of the SLS is scheduled for 2017, for which the launch vehicle will be configured for a 70-metric ton lift capacity. An evolved, two-stage configuration will provide a lift capability of 130 metric tons to enable missions beyond Earth's orbit and support deep space exploration.

The SLS software test bed computers were developed by The Boeing Company and delivered to Marshall ahead of schedule. Availability of this test bed platform early in the engineering development phase allows more time for NASA programmers to develop the most capable flight software in the history of spaceflight.

Explore further: NASA's new upper stage engine passes major test

Related Stories

NASA's new upper stage engine passes major test

November 9, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA conducted a successful 500-second test firing of the J-2X rocket engine on Wednesday, Nov. 9, marking another important step in development of an upper stage for the heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS). ...

NASA moves shuttle engines from Kennedy to Stennis

January 16, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- The relocation of the RS-25D space shuttle main engine inventory from Kennedy Space Center's Engine Shop in Cape Canaveral, Fla., is underway. The RS-25D flight engines, repurposed for NASA's Space Launch ...

Sls avionics test paves way for full-scale booster firing

April 3, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA has successfully tested the solid rocket booster avionics for the first two test flights of the Space Launch System, America's next heavy-lift launch vehicle. This avionics system includes electrical ...

NASA conducts tests on Orion service module

May 11, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center are testing parts of the Orion service module to ensure the spacecraft can withstand the harsh realities of deep space missions.

Recommended for you

Unusual red arcs spotted on icy Saturn moon Tethys

July 30, 2015

Like graffiti sprayed by an unknown artist, unexplained arc-shaped, reddish streaks are visible on the surface of Saturn's icy moon Tethys in new, enhanced-color images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

New Horizons data hint at underground ocean

July 30, 2015

Pluto wears its heart on its sleeve, and that has scientists gleaning intriguing new facts about its geology and climate. Recent data from NASA's New Horizons probe—which passed within 7,800 miles of the surface on July ...

Dense star clusters shown to be binary black hole factories

July 29, 2015

The coalescence of two black holes—a very violent and exotic event—is one of the most sought-after observations of modern astronomy. But, as these mergers emit no light of any kind, finding such elusive events has been ...

First detection of lithium from an exploding star

July 29, 2015

The chemical element lithium has been found for the first time in material ejected by a nova. Observations of Nova Centauri 2013 made using telescopes at ESO's La Silla Observatory, and near Santiago in Chile, help to explain ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rwinners
not rated yet Jun 01, 2012
I like 130 tons! Finally a better lift capability than the Saturn V! And it only took ....... you do the math.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.