Spaceflight crew escape system demonstrator

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 1 June 2004

Keywords

Citation

(2004), "Spaceflight crew escape system demonstrator", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 76 No. 3. https://doi.org/10.1108/aeat.2004.12776caf.006

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Spaceflight crew escape system demonstrator

Spaceflight crew escape system demonstrator

Keywords: Spacecraft, Flight performance, Flight safety

Green Hills Software, Inc., recently announced that the Lockheed Martin Corporation has selected the INTEGRITY-178B real-time operating system (RTOS) for the vehicle management and control system of the pad abort demonstrator (PAD), an unmanned crew escape demonstration test bed supporting the development of the next manned spacecraft.

The PAD is a full-scale reusable flying test bed that provides a test platform to demonstrate and evaluate technologies associated with launch pad and potentially ascent abort operations for the orbital space plane (OSP) programme. PAD addresses the need to separate the crew from a booster vehicle in the event of an on-pad emergency event. Lockheed Martin was awarded a $53 million contract to develop, build and fly the PAD system. Lockheed selected the Green Hills INTEGRITY-178B RTOS and AdaMULTI software development tools for the control of the critical tasks that will be needed to demonstrate safe separation and recovery of a crew escape module in the event of a launch emergency.

“We need complete confidence in the ARINC 653 compliant operating system software that will control the Pad Abort Demonstrator,” said Gary Shubert, PAD Avionics and Software lead, Lockheed Martin Corporation. “Because the Green Hills INTEGRITY-178B RTOS was developed for the man-rated aviation industry, it provides the level of robust safety-critical control that we require for the PAD.”

The PAD system builds upon the experience of the earlier manned spaceflight missions of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programmes. It will provide for a rocket-powered separation of the crew vehicle from the launch pad. Escape engines will fire for a few seconds, safely separating the simulated crew up and away from danger. At an altitude of between 4,000 and 6,000 ft (approximately 1,200-1,800 m) above the ground, parachutes will be deployed to slow the descent of the crew vehicle, while landing skids will be deployed as the vehicle near the ground. All of these complex tasks will be under the fully autonomous control of Green Hills Software's INTEGRITY-178B RTOS.

“Our experience with all forms of manned aviation will certainly benefit Lockheed Martin as they demonstrate a modern separation and recovery system for future manned space flight,” said David Kleidermacher, Vice-President of engineering at Green Hills Software. “This is just the latest in a long line of safety-critical systems that rely on the Green Hills INTEGRITY-178B RTOS for control of some of the most complex forms of aviation”.

Design of the actual PAD test vehicle is nearly complete at Lockheed Martin, with initial wind tunnel testing completed in October 2003. PAD is scheduled for three demonstration flights in 2005 and four demonstration flights in 2006 at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

Details available from: Green Hills Software Ltd. Tel: +44 (0) 1844 267950; Fax: +44 (0)1844 267955; E-mail: sales-uk@ghs.com; Web site: www.ghs.com