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Proceedings Paper

Cost Effective Development Of A Shuttle-Based Astronomical Instrument Control System
Author(s): Ronald A. Parise; A. Blum; T. J. Budney; R. W. Stone
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Paper Abstract

The electronic control of astronomical instruments has become a very complex subject in recent years. The difficulty in dealing with these systems has, however, been significantly reduced through the use of microcomputers. The recent upsurge of commercially available microcomputer circuit boards and related peripheral devices has provided a convenient and cost effective base from which to develop space-borne astronomical instrument control systems. The use of a high level language (FORTH) for flight computer software development has further reduced costs to a minimal level. We report on the development of a flight computer system for the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UIT) utilizing such an approach. Most of the breadboard version of the flight computer is assembled from commercially avail-able components, reducing the necessary circuit design to a few specialized interface and control cards. It is therefore possible to begin software development in parallel with flight hardware development, resulting in considerable time savings over traditional methods. The commercial boards are then re-fabricated on aluminum core heat conducting stock, using high reliability parts to produce the flight versions. The UIT Instrument Ground Support Equipment (IGSE) is comprised of a MINC-23 minicomputer. This system performs multiple functions such as flight computer software development, PROM programming, test and integration support, and flight operations support. We describe the implementation of these functions as they apply to the flight computer and telescope control concepts.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 November 1982
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 0331, Instrumentation in Astronomy IV, (16 November 1982); doi: 10.1117/12.933495
Show Author Affiliations
Ronald A. Parise, Computer Sciences Corporation (United States)
A. Blum, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (United States)
T. J. Budney, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (United States)
R. W. Stone, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0331:
Instrumentation in Astronomy IV
David L. Crawford, Editor(s)

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