Small Launcher Development Flight Instrumentation Avionics Using Space COTS

Small Launcher Development Flight Instrumentation Avionics Using Space COTS
Small Launcher Development Flight Instrumentation Avionics Using Space COTS
Case Study
March 30, 2017

Small Launcher Development Flight Instrumentation Avionics Using Space COTS

Testing any aerospace vehicle is a challenging task with harsh environmental conditions and the requirement for a wide range of data to be gathered. There is also a need to ensure reliable data gathering due to the high expense incurred for every flight. For space launcher development testing, the challenge is amplified with harsher environmental conditions, the need for highly accurate data, and the likely destruction of the test article – meaning all data must be captured and transmitted during flight.

A developer of a small launcher sought a data acquisition solution that could meet these challenges while also keeping costs to a minimum. This is critical both because every flight will result in the destruction of the avionics and because the small launcher market is very cost-competitive. Customers of their solution will be looking for data to prove their expensive cargo can be delivered into orbit reliably and suffer as minimal harsh conditions as possible (e.g. vibrations) but will also be looking for a cost-effective supplier.

The manufacturer has obtained a data acquisition system that will suit the needs for the development flights and further act as a source of data for commercial missions at a price that meets their competitive needs. The modular system provided a non-bespoke versatile solution that met all the data acquisition needs. The resulting data has the credibility to be trusted by their customers to ensure payload comfort and flight performance.

The expense of a more traditional space avionics solution or indeed the expense and risk associated with attempting to develop such in-house was avoided. The time and cost saved with this approach allowed the developer to invest further in structural and propulsion development.

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Curtiss-Wright helps reduce costs, development time, and risk by using a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) approach that utilizes an extensive library of proven IP and decades of rugged system design experience. Our designers optimize systems for low cost of ownership based on a customer’s application and the procurement life of the platform. The Curtiss-Wright Space COTS versatility has been fully proven – no other COTS system has been qualified and used successfully in such a wide variety of space missions for both Development Flight Instrumentation (DFI) and Operational Flight Instrumentation (OFI) requirements.