After a nearly seven-year, 2.2 billion-mile journey, BAE Systems radiation-hardened microprocessors reached Saturn June 30 onboard the international Cassini-Huygens spacecraft.
Cassini, launched October 15, 1997, will conduct a four-year study of Saturn. Twelve scientific instruments on the Cassini orbiter will gather information on Saturn's rings, icy satellites, the Saturnian magnetosphere, and Titan, the planet's largest moon.
BAE Systems Information & Electronic Warfare Systems (IEWS) built the seven Advanced Spaceborne Computer Module (ASCM) microprocessors onboard Cassini. The microprocessors operate in the heavily radiated space environment and are based on the Military Standard 1750 microprocessor. The seven computers handle command and control of the spacecraft and provide processing for several instruments.
"For nearly seven years, we've been closely following Cassini's progress across the solar system," said Vic Scuderi, BAE Systems manager of space programs in Manassas, Va. "BAE Systems is honored to be part of this mission and are proud that NASA chose our ASCM microprocessor to be used on six of the 12 instruments."
BAE Systems worked with the U.S. Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to create the radiation-hardened version of the microprocessor. Nearly 200 ASCM microprocessors are in orbit today serving commercial telecommunications, military, and research and exploration programs.
The ASCM microprocessor is one of a family of radiation-hardened computers developed and produced by BAE Systems with support of JPL and the AFRL. The ASCM and RAD6000 computers can be found on more than 100 satellites in space. The newest member of the processor family, the RAD750, will be used on the Deep Impact mission to be launched later this year.
BAE Systems is an international company engaged in the development, delivery, and support of advanced defense and aerospace systems in the air, on land, at sea, and in space. BAE Systems Information & Electronic Warfare Systems is a major producer of aircraft self-protection systems and tactical surveillance and intelligence systems for all branches of the armed forces.
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