The International Space Station ISS provides a platform to conduct experiments that require one or more of the unusual conditions present on the station. The primary fields of research include human research, space medicine, life sciences, physical sciences, astronomy and meteorology.
The COTS CompactPCI® single-board computer F14 is used to control the instrument for an atmospheric pressure experiment on board the ISS within the RFR defrosting system project. The instrument is part of the microgravity equipment, where the investigation of the physics of fluids will allow researchers to better model their behaviour. And the examination of reactions that are slowed by low gravity and temperatures will give scientists a deeper understanding of superconductivity.
The F14 is a rugged Intel® Pentium® based computer in single Eurocard format with all state-of-the-art PC interfaces. The only modification was the removal of the on-board flash chip. The SBC is combined with the side card F600 that provides additional 1 to 4 UART interfaces. In accordance with the specific requirements of the environment, the computer is specified to operate in a -40 to +85°C operation temperature, and on-board components are soldered to withstand shock and vibration.
Another CompactPCI® system in space is part of the control system for the next generation (after the Shuttle) NASA Orion space exploration vehicle. It is also based on 3U CompactPCI® COTS products. The F17, a rugged Intel® Core™ 2 Duo SBC, combined with an F603 side card with SATA hard disk and additional USB and UART interfaces, a four-channel Ethernet card F211 and the Ethernet Switch F301.
The Orion program will provide a state-of-the-art human space flight system capable of safely transferring astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS), the Moon, Mars and other destinations beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO).