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Questions tagged [computing]

Questions about the computation of problems for space exploration (whether on board or on the ground), especially with electronic devices like computers

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18 votes
4 answers
7k views

Does the Voyager team use a wrapper (Fortran(77?) to Python) to transmit current commands?

I assume that the vast majority of the people who created the software for these missions are now retired (the "space pensioners" of the Voyager mission). Here's a very good summary of the current ...
4 votes
0 answers
88 views

Testing astrodynamics software [closed]

As I’ve been developing my own solutions (and implementing existing ones) to problems in astrodynamics to solve textbook questions and to build applications, I’m becoming increasingly interested in ...
9 votes
2 answers
994 views

What are the general properties and specs for JWST's onboard data and image processing capabilities?

Answers and comments on What is the data storage capabilities onboard the James Webb Telescope? which reference the James Webb Space Telescope User Documentation item JWST Solid State Recorder mention ...
0 votes
1 answer
193 views

What practical tasks did you start working on in programming PLD/FPGA for spacecraft?

There are a great many areas of application of PLD/FPGA in spacecraft. Let's take as a basis this classification of domains and subdomains, proposed in the November 24, 2023 FPGAInsights.com blogpost ...
118 votes
6 answers
27k views

What makes (or at least made) Ada the language of choice for the ISS's safety-critical systems?

We have it on good authority that Ada is widely used for "safety critical software" on at least the US side of the International Space Station. Of all the possible languages to choose from, ...
34 votes
1 answer
4k views

Why did NASA set up a computing facility in Bermuda in the Mercury epoch?

I'm reading Hidden Figures, and I'm puzzled by an assertion Shetterly makes in a section describing the first few electronic computers installed at NASA, in the run-up to the Mercury project at around ...
16 votes
2 answers
2k views

What does NASA plan to do with the world's largest quantum computer?

NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Division has apparently partnered with Google and acquired the world's largest quantum computer, D-Wave Two™: In a partnership with Google and independent, ...
11 votes
1 answer
564 views

What DID NASA do with "the world's largest quantum computer"? (re question from 2013)

@TildalWave's 2013 question What does NASA plan to do with the world's largest quantum computer? has several answers, including one in a comment: Maintaining this computer is expected to bring ...
24 votes
3 answers
5k views

Fortran and the Apollo 11 mission

I was just wondering, as a Fortran user. As far as I know, the simulations taken in order to carry the Apollo 11 mission was written in Fortran 2. I would like to confirm this from a reliable source. ...
9 votes
6 answers
4k views

Orbital Supercomputer for Martian and Outer Planet Computing

As we know, computing will (and really has) been important to research missions for space science and exploration. I read about the Spacebourne Computer program HPE and NASA used for the ISS as proof ...
4 votes
1 answer
394 views

Computationally solving the two-body problem for patched conics approximation

I have been trying to create an orbital simulation using the patched conics approximation like Kerbal Space Program. I initially tried solving Kepler's equation using Newton's method, however this ...
3 votes
1 answer
750 views

How to solve the two-body problem in the ECI frame through numerical integration?

I need to know how to solve two-body problem by solving a system of first order equation derived from the equation below. $$\ddot{\mathbf{r}} = -\frac{\mu}{r^3}\mathbf{r}$$ How do I go about this, and ...
22 votes
2 answers
4k views

What was the first programming language in space?

Sputnik 1 was the first satellite in space. Did it have a programming language on board or was it purely analog? in 1949 Von Neumann released the language Short Code. Fortran was invented in 1957. ...
3 votes
3 answers
1k views

First TTL chip in space and in orbit? Was it a 7400 series or something that predates?

Similarly to The first transistors in space: Germanium or Silicon? What about in orbit? First LED left on another planet⁺ by humans? w/list of space electronic "firsts" questions what was ...
1 vote
0 answers
127 views

Space shuttle digital signal processor (DSP): floating point or fixed point?

Digital signal processors can represent irrational numbers using fixed-point or floating-point data types. Fixed point means fixed number of decimal places, and floating point means floating number of ...
23 votes
7 answers
6k views

Unix Epoch in International Space Station

The International Space Station is in a different gravitational field than us on the Earth's surface. Almost all computers / protocols depend on the Unix epoch being consistent everywhere. The Unix ...
3 votes
2 answers
271 views

Why exactly did ESA provide a grant funding blockchain in space? Which program was used for the funding? What will this do?

Despite all of the negative authoritative answers to How would blockchain be integrated into spaceflight? Have any methods been proposed yet? stating that it wouldn't happen, Coin Telegraph's ...
8 votes
1 answer
192 views

Rad-Hard vs Space-Hard computing

Radiation hardened CPUs like RAD750 are radiation hardened for up to 1000 gray. Cool. But, as CPUs have advanced way ahead their mechanical counterparts in miniaturization and fragility, energy ...
38 votes
5 answers
15k views

Why is the James Webb Space Telescope's data storage space so small?

In a previous question, I learned that the JWST's solid state recorder (SSR) can hold at least 58.8 Gbytes of recorded science data. Which each day requires two, 4 hour downlinks with earth to empty ...
2 votes
0 answers
66 views

CesiumJS: Hayabusa 2 location w.r.t Earth

Given these coordinates w.r.t Sun: Hayabusa: x = 86014493 y = 112689997 z = 54295960 Earth: x = 82241037 y = 112748971 z = 48876281 How do I calculate Hayabusa coordinates w.r.t Earth center? I ...
5 votes
1 answer
167 views

what brand/make is the laptop articulated arm in sleeping pod?

I saw a video of Sunny Williams she moved the laptop around. Go to time position 1:34. Is this articulated arm available to purchase for consumers on Earth?
9 votes
1 answer
343 views

Did the RTCC ever “fail over” to the standby computer during a mission?

The Real Time Computer Complex (RTCC) was the central computing facility for the Gemini and Apollo programs, and contained, during the Apollo program, several IBM System 360 mainframes. These systems ...
28 votes
7 answers
4k views

The Martian: Does it really take a supercomputer to calculate spaceflight maneuvers?

My preemptive apologies for asking a question about a movie, and the spoilers within said question, but considering the widespread support for its scientific plausibility, I'm hoping you'll let it ...
3 votes
1 answer
236 views

Implementation of NASA Breakup model Area to Mass distribution

In the research "NASA's new breakup model of evolve 4.0" the implementation for the area to mass distribution of fragments produced by collisions and explosions is provided. The distribution ...
7 votes
3 answers
1k views

SAR image processing

Is it possible for conventional x86 based processor/High precision GPU to be used for image processing for space borne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) system? If not, are there alternatives using ...
2 votes
0 answers
512 views

What are all the ways that FPGAs are used in the Flying Laptop spacecraft?

In the eoPortal's spacecraft Mission profile for the Flying Laptop, the term FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) appears 12 times, including the paragraph below. I'm still having trouble ...
2 votes
7 answers
1k views

How would blockchain be integrated into spaceflight? Have any methods been proposed yet?

Blockchain offers a way of keeping track of information such that its authenticity can be verified and it can not easily be falsified. In a space environment with an increasing number of both active ...
26 votes
4 answers
7k views

How many petaflops does it take to land on the moon? What does Artemis need with an Aitken?

All of the top five answers to The Martian: Does it really take a supercomputer to calculate spaceflight maneuvers? are essentially "no, orbital mechanics isn't rocket science". Okay I have ...
3 votes
1 answer
143 views

Getting to Titan and beyond - technology knowledge management to get... anywhere

The article which made me to post this question is actually about (not yet) getting to Titan, but these words provoke thought for any space exploration target, please note it's a NASA engineer telling ...
15 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is a "Lear Processor" and how did it work?

This answer to the question What was the mascon “fix” used by Apollo 12? says (in part): The Tindallgrams have some notes on the matter. See pages 307 to 354 of http://www.collectspace.com/resources/...
7 votes
1 answer
404 views

What language is the Russian segment ISS software written in?

I have heard that the ISS uses a Russian coding language for some of the systems and subsystems on the Russian segment of the ISS. What is that coding language?
23 votes
2 answers
4k views

How did the Apollo guidance computer handle parity bit errors?

The following answers mention the use of parity bits in the Apollo guidance computer: this answer to Bits per core for the different versions of the Apollo guidance computer core rope memory? this ...
14 votes
4 answers
15k views

What is the most popular programming language in space?

For the purposes of clarification - will include machine code generated by a programming language on earth. - 'in space' includes anything in orbit and deep space transit. - special mentions of ...
5 votes
2 answers
401 views

Why would Space Cube 1.0 have so many On-Orbit Upsets over South America?

I was reading about the Advanced Hybrid On-Board Science Data Processor - SpaceCube 2.0 Space Cube 2.0 and I saw maps of computer upsets in orbit recorded by Space Cube 1.0 on slides 8 and 9. What is ...
1 vote
0 answers
77 views

Examples of both hardware and software GNSS recievers

I am writing an essay titled: Critically evaluate the positional fixing capabilities of current smartphone technologies for real world GIS data collection I am wanting examples of both hardware and ...
5 votes
0 answers
178 views

Having deep space probes use AI to decide where to point their cameras?

With New Horizons on final approach to Ultima Thule (2014 MU69) it has been stated that some or all of the images returned may end up being blank due to the camera being pointed incorrectly because of ...
2 votes
2 answers
320 views

How did Russian Scientist analyse the data from Sputnik 1?

I could not find any information about the process of extracting and interpreting data from Sputnik 1, or the involvement of computers in the data analysis of that information. Does anyone have info ...
8 votes
3 answers
505 views

Has in-flight software changes ever involved a change of programming language?

Computer software is arguably the only component of an unmanned spacecraft that can be changed once the mission is already underway. Many spacecraft are now designed to accept new programs through ...
5 votes
1 answer
744 views

Raspberry Pis in Space?

I'm aware of the Astro Pi (1, 2, 3, 4) on board the ISS, but have there been any other instances of the RPi in space (Astro or not), for example in cubesats or other spacecraft which contain a ...
5 votes
0 answers
126 views

HPE's demo HPC system; why choose optical and not copper interconnects because of magnetic fields and radiation?

An article in The Next Platform, One Small Step Toward Supercomputers in Space describes a small High Performance Computing system (HPC) built by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), to be brought to the ...
6 votes
2 answers
349 views

How do Field Programmable Gate Arrays affect the capabilities of probes?

FPGAs are microprocessors that can be reconfigured on the fly, through programming, to do different things. They can essentially be rewired, to change what the chip does, in ways that once would have ...
9 votes
2 answers
278 views

Could a swarm of probes autonomously establish orbit around an asteroid?

To position a spacecraft around an asteroid, one must know the orbital parameters and orientation of the asteroid and the spacecraft. Formation flying will be more complex in terms of positioning ...
29 votes
1 answer
3k views

What are some specific examples of the calculations human "computers" did for the Mercury space program?

The movie Hidden Figures tells the story of three black women who were "computers" for the Mercury space program. They performed calculations related to orbits, launches, aerodynamics, etc. What are ...
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

How were Frenet frames and Gram–Schmidt orthonormalization used in spacecraft orbit calculations?

I haven't seen the film Hidden Figures yet, but I have read and listened to some dialogue clips in this NPR Review. In it they mention a Frenet frame and the Gram–Schmidt process for ...
20 votes
1 answer
2k views

What space applications, projects and agencies are using the Ada programming language?

The answer to this question mentions the use of Ada-programmed applications on the ISS. Ada was developed for the US DoD to replace a plethora of computer languages (some 465), for mission-critical ...
3 votes
1 answer
4k views

How to calculate new periapsis and apoapsis after orbital velocity change

I'm working on a way of simulating orbits for a video game I'm making. It works by taking the apoapsis, periapsis and current distance and calculating from there the velocity, radial velocity, period ...
9 votes
1 answer
193 views

Do modern CFD codes reduce the number of test firings in an engine program?

Given the complexity of liquid propellant rocket engine development, I wonder if (and how much) modern Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) codes help to reduce overall development costs. Do they ...
8 votes
3 answers
592 views

Can one put a large nickel-iron asteroid into an elliptical solar orbit that results in a soft(ish) earth landing?

My daughter and I are debating whether it is technically feasible to bring a nickel iron asteroid to the surface or the earth non-destructively. I felt it was impossible. Her thought was that with a ...
16 votes
3 answers
1k views

Space computing, general question

What type of computers are used (generally) in robotic ( i.e. space probes and rovers) vs human craft (such as the ISS, soyuz)? Subquestion: What kind of specs are important on computers to operate ...