Stable Data for NASA ST8 Mission – Success Story


The Challenge

For over 20 years, Aitech has been building rugged embedded computing solutions for an impressive list of high-profile defense and space research programs. Recently, Aitech joined a ground-breaking space project, the NASA ST8 Mission. The Aitech engineers needed data management software robust enough to withstand the harsh conditions of space and yet simple to integrate in their existing development environment in order to avoid delays to the tightly-budgeted project. Additionally, Aitech knew they needed a development partner that understood their business requirements as well as the project’s stringent performance and reliability standards.

The Datalight Solution

After reviewing several options, Aitech chose Datalight software as the data management foundation for the S950 single board computer and the S990 flash memory module. The S990 product will be used on the ST8. The S950 is designed to be customized to serve one of several critical functions, including a redundant mission computer, flight guidance and navigation computer, command and data handling computer, solid state recorder, video controller and manipulator controller. The S990 is a high-capacity flash memory module that is radiation tolerant and latchup-protected.

Datalight offered Aitech the business model flexibility they needed to fit within the project budget. With the FlashFX Pro SDK for VxWorks, Aitech quickly integrated a flash management platform into the S950 and S990 products.

The Customer Payoff

Datalight products reduce the complexity of data management, offering a high-performance, low-overhead solution. The software allows Aitech customers to access raw memory, both shortening development time and fueling innovation. This enables Aitech products to function at very high throughput rates. The S950 is the fastest SBC that has been qualified and fielded successfully for space applications.

“Datalight provided a solution that was pre-ported to our RTOS and backed by impeccable technical support, which made integration extremely smooth,” said Anthony Lai, VP of Space Systems at Aitech. “Through our evaluations, we knew that we were getting a high-performance solution, but what we did not expect was that the file system functionality would offer our customers features that they cannot get from our competitors.”

Aitech’s SBC will be integrated into a new technology ST8 Dependable Multiprocessor allowing fault tolerance for COTS computers in space. The project represents a significant achievement for the embedded computing industry in developing a fully autonomous, robotic commercial-off- the-shelf in-space subsystem.