Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Love covering space

Posted by John McHale

My favorite beat at Military & Aerospace Electronics over the years has been space, specifically NASA programs.

I'm in the midst of a feature on avionics for manned spacecraft and the main focus has been the Orion spacecraft and its state-of-the-art cockpit.

"The technology going into Orion is amazing," Rick Kasuda, Orion avionics and software director for Lockheed Martin, told me. This is the best technology astronauts have ever had in the cockpit and "quite different from what they had in the Space Shuttle," he added.

They will have a glass cockpit with very few switches and be able to see everything through the glass display, Kasuda said. The cockpit will also have its own local area network, he added.

The Orion spacecraft will function as a transport for crew and cargo as well as fly to the Moon, Mars, and dock with the International Space Station.

The Space Shuttle is scheduled to retire in 2010, but the Obama Administration may try to get one or two more flights out of it if they so choose.

Be sure to check out the avionics for manned space flight article in our January issue.

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