Aitech Selected to Provide Processing Engines for Ares I Instrument Unit Avionics Computer Systems

Chatsworth, Calif. August 2009 –Aitech Defense Systems Inc., the world’s first and largest independent manufacturer of open architecture electronic boards and subsystem level products for harsh aerospace applications has been selected to provide two key embedded processing components for the Ares I Launch Vehicle’s Instrument Unit Avionics (IUA) Flight Computer (FC) and Command Telemetry Computer (CTC) systems under a contract to Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.

As a long-standing, qualified supplier of electronic computing equipment for US human spaceflight programs from the Space Shuttle to the International Space Station, Aitech is certified for manned space flight where maintaining minimal out-gassing is crucial on these types of mission-critical flights.

Aitech’s next-generation S950 single board computer (SBC) and new S750 PCI mezzanine card (PMC) will be used in a triple-redundant configuration to provide flight control redundancy in the IUA FC function. The new S950 SBC offers a faster 1 GHz processing engine and an increase of more than 20% in performance than the previous version. The soon-to-be-released Aitech S750 four-port Gigabit Ethernet PMC, hosted on the S950 SBC as a single-slot CompactPCI (cPCI) card set, will relay high-speed imaging data to the crew exploration vehicle’s (CEV) solid state recorder and ground support system.

Ball Aerospace ARES IAU program manager, Randall Coffey said, "Using Aitech's components has allowed the program to advance several notches up the technology scale and will save significant amounts of development costs. These are two very important aspects of space-related programs.”

Roger Rowe, Aitech's President and CEO stated, "Providing NASA with reliable products to help advance mission-critical space programs is what Aitech has done with great success for over 25 years. Quality without compromise is fundamental to our product development.”

As with most of Aitech’s products, both radiation-tolerant cards are optimized for a wide variety of applications in low and high earth orbit space vehicles such as flight computer and control, engine control and rocket staging, robotic manipulator control and instrument interface units. The cards are also used in command and telemetry control, attitude and combustion control, payload control, solar array and directional control as well as solar array drive electronics (SADE). Aitech’s products continually provide the highest on-board functionality, widest temperature range and lowest power consumption for mission-critical harsh environment and space applications.

The Ares I first stage vehicle booster launches the Orion CEV, which will join other elements of NASA’s Constellation program to propel astronauts to the moon – and beyond – by 2020. The IUA FC and CTC provide the guidance, navigation and control hardware for the new Ares I crew launch vehicle, serving as the vehicle’s control subsystem during the rocket’s ascent to orbit.

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