To the Moon! And Mars, and Asteroids, and Stars…
By Mike Deliman
About 20 years ago the VxWorks real-time operating system (RTOS) hitched its first ride into space on a NASA probe, as part of one of the avionics packages – a star scanner – that was used to help keep Clementine on course. Since then VxWorks has been in many space-bound projects, returning to the Moon, beyond to Mars, Mercury, a few comets, and the Asteroid belt where it will be in the first craft to visit two asteroids.
VxWorks is in probes monitoring the sun 24 hours a day, every day. And in some of the great observatories (Kepler, Spitzer, and others) where it’s discovering planets around distant stars, distant galaxies, and exploring deep space back to the beginnings of time. It keeps watch of the kinds of “light” that humans will never be able to see, bringing back surprising new information. VxWorks has been used in satellites that helped confirm the General Theory of Relativity. There are robots on and around other planets in the solar system returning data that is writing the book on planetary evolution; and they are running VxWorks. There is even a telepresence robot on the International Space Station (ISS), being driven by NASA engineers, allowing them to do work on the space station from the ground.
Many of these projects contracted for extra help and support while they were being designed. This expert support gave those projects an extra edge of insight into how VxWorks could be tailored to better fit their needs. Wind River services and support have been a part of many of these successful missions. All of the projects have benefited from decades of use in earthbound products ranging from movie effects processing, to industrial and medical robots, to telecom and network infrastructure. All of these use cases have contributed to the maturity and robustness of the VxWorks RTOS.
Wind River is proud to have played parts in all of these fantastic missions and products. VxWorks has grown and evolved over the last 20 years, now offering solutions for virtualization, multicore, multi-blade, and distributed systems solutions. From space, robotics, and to the Internet of Things, the latest VxWorks is available to help speed your projects on to stellar successes.
Congratulation to NASA, JPL, and the Curiosity teams!