– NABEEL SARWAR
Table of Contents
Computers are an important when it comes
to space exploration technology because with their help researchers understood
how many of the secrets of the creation of the Universe happened and we decided
to tell you a little about computers in space what they’re like, what they do
and how and why they need to be protected. The reason why computers are so good
what they do is because they have an amazing processing power and are able do
render data a lot faster than the average person. Astronauts rely on computers
when they need guidance for their ships and are totally blind and helpless,
without their help.
the technology used today in our space exploration mission comes from help from
computers. Every field has benefited from computer’s assistance, important
breakthroughs have been achieved. There is no reason to doubt computers because
they can excel in areas where we could never begin comprehend. The period
of space exploration has arrived and the need of knowledge has increased faster
than ever. The space exploration field needs computers that are capable to
process large amounts of information and then simplify them into a simple form
so that scientists can use them for their own purposes.Scientists need to
answer more question than before, concerning the origin of the universe and the
best way to do this is by sending probes into space and analyzing the data. The modern digital computers
have been fundamental to the space exploration program. Computers have
profoundly affected almost every aspect of space tech, including spacecraft designs,
mission control, and the gathering and processing of data generated by the
spacecraft. Indeed, the evolution and growth of computer technology is
suggestively parallel to the growth in space technology.
Computers are considered a very important nowadays. We
are basically living in a era of computer where every other thing’s possibly
connected with the computers.
The scientists have done so many experiments in space for
the past few years and they are absolutely shocking. The space shuttle’s five
general purpose computers computers, or GPCs, are slow and have little memory
compared to modern home computers. On the other hand, no one straps the
latest-and-greatest desktop computer inside a machine that vibrates like an old
truck on a washboard road while requiring it to get a spacecraft into orbit and
In other words, when it comes to flying the shuttle, reliability means far more
“The environment of space is very harsh and unfriendly and not just space,
but getting into space,” said RoscoFerguson, a space shuttle flight
software operating system engineer for the United Space Alliance”. Something
like a desktop might not even survive all the vibration. Then once you get into
space you have the radiation.
Even after major computer upgrades in 1992, the primary flight system has a
storage capacity of one megabyte and runs at a speed of 1.4 million instruction
per second. While this was more memory and much faster computing speed than
could be ever achieved with the original 1970s-era shuttle flight computers, it
doesn’t compare to today’s desktop computers.
“The gpc’s serve as the brains of the shuttle,” Ferguson said.
“It’s really the heart of control system.”
The GPCs include 24 input/output links that collect the signals from the
shuttle’s myriad sensors and sends them to the GPCs. The computers plug the
readings from the sensors into elaborate mathematical algorithms to determine
when to swivel three main engines during launch, how much to move the elevens
on the wings for landing and which thruster to fire in spaces to set up a
rendezvous with the International Space Station, for example. That process is
completed about 25 times every second.
The shuttle’s computer-driven flight control system was a first for a
production spacecraft. The fly-by-wire design, tested on modified research
aircrafts, does not have any mechanical link from pilot to the control surfaces
and thrusters. Instead, the pilot moves the control stick in the cockpit and
the computer transmit signals to the control mechanism to make them move
Progress in Space Technology
4. Technical Aspects
Space technology and the images it has
created are credited with having a significant impact on society. In the 1960s,
society was undergoing a period of tremendous change, when to be ‘modern’ was
de rigeur. Space exploration was a superlative symbol, a cultural icon of the
sixties, and it became a driving force for change within the putative consumer
society. Space Age images have been used, particularly in advertising and
entertainment, for the past four decades-a trend that seems likely to continue.
But it is the application of space technology itself-in communications,
navigation, remote sensing and meteorology-which has had the greatest, and
often overlooked, impact on society. The paper investigates how space
technology and the use of Space Age images has developed since the early days
of space exploration, and to what extent they are still a part of
Just like the computers themselves, the software code
involved is much smaller than modern commercial counterparts. The shuttle’s
primary flight software contains about 400,000 lines of code. For comparison, a
Windows operating system package includes millions of lines of source
“From a complexity point of view, Microsoft Windows is probably more
complex because it has to do so very, very, very much,” Orr said.
Shuttle programmers, on the other hand, focus solely on what the software must
do for a mission to succeed. The machines simply don’t have the room to support
programming for other things.
“There are a lot of things that have to happen very precisely,” Orr
Plus, shuttle software is written to successfully adjust to failures, such as
when one main engine shut down early during the launch of the STS-51F mission
in 1985. The software steered the shuttle safely into a lower-than-planned
orbit and the Spacelab research mission still was successful. The computers
also operated the shuttle safely during the launch of Columbia’s STS-93 mission
in 1999, when an electrical short in a main engine controller and a pinhole
leak in a main engine occurred during ascent.
A single shuttle flight requires a series of software sets to operate at
different times on the computers. There are overlays for pre-launch, launch,
in-orbit operations, in-orbit checkout and entry.
The first artificial satellite to orbit
artificial satellite was Sputnik 1,
launched by the Soviet Union on 4 October 1957, and initiating the Soviet Sputnik program,
with Sergei as chief designer. This in turn
triggered the Space Race between the Soviet Union and the
helped to identify the density of high atmospheric layers through measurement of its
orbital change and provided data on radio-signal distribution in the ionosphere.
The unanticipated announcement of Sputnik
1’s success precipitated the Sputnik crisis in
the United States and ignited the so-called Space Race within the Cold War.
Sputnik 2 was launched on 3 November 1957
and carried the first living passenger into orbit.
1946, Project RAND had released the Preliminary Design of an Experimental World-Circling
stated, “A satellite vehicle with appropriate instrumentation can be expected
to be one of the most potent scientific tools of the Twentieth Century.”10 The
United States had been considering launching orbital satellites since 1945
under the Bureau of
the United States Navy. The United States Air
Force’s Project RAND
eventually released the report, but considered the satellite to be a tool for
science, politics, and propaganda, rather than a potential military weapon. In
1954, the Secretary of Defense stated, “I know of no
American satellite program.”11 In
February 1954 Project RAND released “Scientific Uses for a Satellite
Vehicle,” written by R.R. Carhart.This expanded on potential scientific
uses for satellite vehicles and was followed in June 1955 with “The
Scientific Use of an Artificial Satellite,” by H.K. Kallmann and W.W.
context of activities planned for the International
Geophysical Year (1957–58),
the White House announced on 29 July 1955 that
the U.S. intended to launch satellites by the spring of 1958. This became known
as Project Vanguard. On 31 July, the Soviets announced
that they intended to launch a satellite by the fall of 1957.
pressure by the American Rocket
Society, the National Science
Foundation, and the
International Geophysical Year, military interest picked up and in early 1955
the Army and Navy were working on Project Orbiter,
two competing programs: the army’s which involved using a Jupiter C rocket,
and the civilian/Navy Vanguard Rocket, to launch a satellite. At first, they
failed: initial preference was given to the Vanguard program, whose first
attempt at orbiting a satellite resulted in the explosion of the launch vehicle
on national television. But finally, three months after Sputnik 2, the project
succeeded; Explorer 1 became the United States’ first
artificial satellite on 31 January 1958.
largest artificial satellite currently orbiting the Earth is the International Space
1. The Encyclopedia of
Space, Feltham:Hamlyn, pp. 225-230, 1968.
2. N. Calder, the Weather
Machine, BBC, pp. 57-59, 1974.
3. S. Douglass, S B
Modules, Private communication.