by Lori J. Keesey for GSFC News
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Feb 27, 2017
In just two years' time, a team of NASA engineers accomplished what some thought impossible: the group created a smaller, more capable "brain" for smaller spacecraft.
Led by Project Manager and Chief Engineer Noosha Haghani, who works at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, the team leveraged years of knowledge gained during the development of NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale mission, or MMS, to design a significantly smaller electronics system.
Dubbed MUSTANG, short for the Modular Unified Space Technology Avionics for Next Generation missions, the technology acts as the mission's brain and central nervous system, controlling every function needed to gather scientific data from a Small Explorer-type mission. This includes everything from spacecraft command and data handling to attitude control, power, and propulsion, to name just a few tasks. The team also developed a variation of the system - iMUSTANG - for instrument electronics and, like its sibling, it allows users to choose different capabilities depending on instrument needs.
"Key to MUSTANG's success has been the integration of hardware and software design from day one," said Deputy Director of Goddard's Applied Engineering and Technology Directorate and former MMS Project Manager Craig Tooley, who spearheaded the effort. "It provides maximum processing performance and is highly flexible."
Two Versions Developed
"One of our goals was to create an avionics system that mission planners would not have to redesign for each mission," said Pete Spidaliere, a Goddard engineer who participated in MUSTANG's development. "We wanted to give the center a new way of doing things," Haghani added. "In the past, everyone wanted to start from scratch and develop their own avionics systems, which is expensive. By using MUSTANG and iMUSTANG, developers can focus their time and resources on their missions and instruments, not the electronics running them."
Already, the two MUSTANG variations have attracted users. NASA's Pre-Aerosols Clouds and Ocean Ecosystems mission, or PACE, and the Global Ecosystems Dynamics Investigation, or GEDI, have selected MUSTANG to run their operations and are funding the development of additional capabilities that could be used in other future NASA missions. Meanwhile, one of PACE's baselined instruments, the Ocean Color Instrument, or OCI, plans to employ iMUSTANG.
It became obvious to Tooley, who formerly served as MMS project manager, that the center could reduce the cost of spacecraft electronics - traditionally an expensive, multi-million-dollar undertaking - and become more competitive by offering an off-the-shelf, ala-carte avionics system that users could customize to meet their own needs.
"The motivation is to keep board redesign costs to a minimum," Haghani said.
Smaller by Half
"We took the MMS designs, shrunk them down, and added some powerful capabilities," Spidaliere said, adding that the team cut costs by a factor of three and crafted a system that is lighter and more robust than anything built before at Goddard.
"One of the great things about this effort and Noosha's team is that they did the impossible," Spidaliere added, alluding to the effort that resulted in a wholly new avionics system in less than two years. "It never dawned on them that this couldn't be done."
For more Goddard technology news, visit here
Paris (ESA) Feb 21, 2017
Tomorrow, a Space-X Dragon cargo ferry will be launched to the International Space Station packed with supplies, experiments, tools and food for the six astronauts living and working high above Earth. In the unpressurised cargo hold is a new NASA sensor that will monitor our atmosphere with a helping hand from ESA. The Space Station flies 400 km above our planet at 28 800 km/h, experiencin ... read more
NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale mission,
Space Technology News - Applications and Research
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|