by February 6, 2003 0 comments

These rocket systems are monitored by embedded systems. As countdown to lift off approaches, all of these have to be monitored and decisions on whether to continue with the launch or to abort need to be taken in real time.

For this, real time, embedded systems find extensive use in pre-launch checkout systems. In the case of launch agencies like ISRO, they independently create the checkout software required to run on launcher systems and rockets, or expand on the work of collaborating agencies. In the case of launch agencies, like Ariane, the checkout systems could be developed by third-party contractors.

For example, the checkout systems for the Atlas V rocket were done by L-3 communications.

The amount of information picked up by these systems is too much and too complex to be comprehended in their alphanumeric form, or by one person. So, the data is distributed over a network to many controllers, who view the information graphically (this is the launch control center you get to see on TV and in newspaper photographs). Changes in parameters would be indicated in a change of patterns or colors and other such graphical alerts or even audible alerts.

Krishna Kumar

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