Aerospace & Defense

58 articles

And Then There Was One

NASA CONCLUDES ATTEMPTS TO CONTACT ROVER 'SPIRIT'Last night the news of Spirit's mission coming to a close hit my mailbox.For me, her journey started about eleven years ago.  A call from JPL came to my office phone, it was Glenn.  "Mike, we're putting the team back together, we're going back to Mars."Those words were like music to my ears.  Completing…

Rendezvous with a Rock

MESSENGER Spacecraft is approaching it's rendezvous with Mercury.  After flying for over 2400 days, in a little over 24 hours (from writing this)  MESSENGER will maneuver into orbit, the first time a satellite has orbited Mercury.  We hope to learn a lot about the composition of the surface and effects of solar weathering of the surface.  And there's the prospect…

Remarkable

"Space... the final frontier" is how the pre-recorded message from NASA to the Crew of Discovery started this morning. This afternoon while covering the final departure of Discovery from the ISS, the Newsman said "Remarkable - a remarkable bit of technology and a lasting mark on history" - or something to that effect. I thought "Remarkable" - that's a word…

Autonomy and Robotic Advancement

A few months ago on the Robotics Virtual Trade Show in my presentation I spoke about the evolution of robotic systems.  One thing I predicted was as time goes on, robots will become more independent and autonomous, performing more of the work humans and mainframe-style systems have traditionally performed.  Among the robots I talked about were robots similar to NASA's Stardust…

Houston…. the Falcon has Flown!

Last week something remarkable happened. I'm not talking about the UFO sighted over Brisbane (...or am I?)  Last week Spacex successfully orbited the first successful commercial attempt to launch such a device. Wind River is proud to be a part of this historic endeavor.It's hard to convey how exciting this is.  This represents a HUGE step for mankind, a transition…

Radioactive Telepresence

How timely!  A couple of months ago the discussion started - "will unmanned vehicles make a transition into civilian use".  I've been taking the stance that since we're talking vehicles - not just aircraft but all forms of non-stationary robot, that it is inevitable.  Even with aircraft I believe it is inevitable, though it may take a little longer for…

Quit Bugging Me: Making Maps

A tool commonly used in embedded debugging is a linker map - a map of where all the symbols are in the runtime image.  These maps are useful as they turn raw addresses reported by some exception stubs (etc) into offsets into the data or text (program routines) in the computer's RAM.  They give you an idea of what may…

Autonomous Ocean-Powered vehicle

NASA Demonstrates Novel Ocean-Powered Underwater VehiclePASADENA, Calif. – NASA, U.S. Navy and university researchers have successfully demonstrated the first robotic underwater vehicle to be powered entirely by natural, renewable, ocean thermal energy.The Sounding Oceanographic Lagrangrian Observer Thermal RECharging (SOLO-TREC) autonomous underwater vehicle uses a novel thermal recharging engine powered by the natural temperature differences found at different ocean depths. Scalable…

More Bacon: increasing science return

In a recent blog I wrote, Bringing Back The Science Bacon,  one of the things I talk about is increasing the science returns of a mission by doing some data processing on the mission robot, before it sends back information.  If a computer has the ability, and the trade-offs gathering data, processing it into information, available computer throughput and bandwidth…