Rugged Ethernet switches and computers capable of handling the extreme shock and vibrations experienced during the liftoff, stage separation, and recovery phases of a launch were needed for a heavy-lift reusable launch vehicle. It was critical that these systems be highly dependable to make reliable access to space more affordable, accessible, and commercialized.
The launch vehicle required mission processors to serve as its Telemetry Conversion Units (TCU), gathering and processing instrument telemetry data from multiple networks over Ethernet with several switch boxes, providing the backbone to the Local Area Network (LAN).
Looking to eliminate the lengthy process associated with designing custom solutions from the ground-up, sights were set on leveraging proven, affordable Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) products. To mitigate program risks, these systems needed to be qualified to operate in the violent environment of space launch, which far exceeds the vibration and shock limits identified in MIL-STD-810 or DO-160 standards for traditional aerospace applications.
Curtiss-Wright’s ability to modify rugged COTS solutions to withstand multiple trips to and from space, with minimal NRE ensured tight budget and aggressive program objectives were met. By leveraging an MCOTS solution, traditional investment in custom development was avoided as well as the overhead time, and risks associated with in-house development.
Read about the solution Curtiss-Wright developed and the results achieved in our case study - download the 'Launch Vehicle Leverages Small Form Factor Mission Systems for Challenging Space Flight Conditions' case study here.