Curtiss-Wright MnACQ-2000 stackable networked encoding units support next-gen low-Earth orbit spacecraft

April 07, 2017

Published in Intelligent Aerospace

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. Curtiss-Wright is delivering its rugged, space-qualified data acquisition and network technologies for NASA’s Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System (SLS).

Curtiss-Wright’s Defense Solutions division has delivered eight of nine data acquisition flight units it is building for use on NASA’s Orion spacecraft planned for use in Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), Orion’s second test flight in space. For the Orion EM-1 flight, Curtiss-Wright supplies its MnACQ-2000 Miniature Network Data Acquisition System, a compact, stackable Fast Ethernet 100BASE-T-based networked encoding unit that processes and delivers packetized instrumentation data to designated network nodes. Each of the nine rugged COTS-based units built for Orion EM-1 includes a radiation-tolerant power supply, system management overhead, and the specific signal conditioning modules needed to address the number and type of measurements needed during flight. The company has also delivered two 12-Port Ethernet switches that tie the system together and route the data and video for the Orion EM-1 flight. Curtiss-Wright expects to deliver the ninth and final MnACQ-2000 by the end of June 2017.

Curtiss-Wright is one of only a handful of suppliers that provide electronic subsystems to both the Orion and Space Launch System (SLS) programs. The Orion spacecraft is designed to take astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit (LEO) to destinations such as the Moon and Mars. To support these missions, NASA is developing the SLS rocket to provide the launch capability needed to send astronauts farther into the solar system than ever before.

“This deployment of our space data acquisition systems highlights the continued growth of space-qualified commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions in the industry,” says Lynn Bamford, senior vice president and general manager, Defense Solutions division.

Curtiss-Wright also provides eight Pulse Code Modulation (PCM)-based Data Acquisition Units that are used to capture critical flight data for the first flight of the new SLS rocket. All eight CDAUs for Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) have been delivered to NASA Glenn Research Center as well as four of eight EM-2 CDAUs to be used as backups for EM-1.

Curtiss-Wright began shipments of the MnACQ-2000 units to Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor designing and building the Orion spacecraft, early last year. These units are for use on an engineering model of the Orion EM-1 that was built to enable testing of all of the platform software and the integrated Orion capsule.

Curtiss-Wright Corporation delivers highly engineered, critical function products and services to the commercial, industrial, defense, and energy markets. Building on the heritage of Glenn Curtiss and the Wright brothers, Curtiss-Wright has a long tradition of providing reliable solutions through trusted customer relationships. The company employs approximately 8,000 people worldwide.

Read the full article on Intelligent Aerospace

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