Recently in the Computers in Space Category

Mini-computer Astro Pi isset up aboard the International Space Station and is looking out the window.

"Operating droids in space was no obstacle for a German-Italian alliance to reach the finish line of the Zero Robotics tournament. The European winners commanded mini-robots to dodge virtual dust clouds and rendezvous with disabled satellites, all in the weightlessness of the International Space Station. This year's competition gave over 130 high-school students from across Europe the opportunity to operate droids in space by coding software. Six alliances made of teams from Italy, Germany, Spain and Portugal witnessed how their computer codes worked in the Space Station from ESA's ESTEC space research and technology centre in the Netherlands The RetroSpheres space game involved two mini-robots racing through a course using the least amount of fuel. During the three-minute programmed dance, the volleyball-sized spheres moved using 12 squirts of compressed gas. Competitors could collect extra fuel from decommissioned satellites and deorbit the satellites for extra points while navigating through their opponent's dust clouds." More

To support upcoming robotic and human exploration needs, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) anticipates that it and others will need to implement a unified architecture for internetworked communication and navigation services that span the solar system. Unlike the terrestrial internet, a future Solar System Internet (SSI) must be capable of accommodating intermittent connectivity, long or variable delays, asymmetric data rates, and high data loss rates. The underlying capability that enables the SSI is commonly referred to as "Disruption-Tolerant Networking" (DTN). The SSI will employ both opportunistic and scheduled communications paths to optimize routing among nodes of the SSI, while maintaining low communications overhead and data processing load.


"The Saratoga transfer protocol was developed by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) for its Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC) satellites. In over seven years of operation, Saratoga has provided efficient delivery of remote-sensing Earth observation imagery, across private wireless links, from these seven low-orbit satellites to ground stations, using the Internet Protocol (IP). Saratoga is designed to cope with high bandwidth-delay products, constrained acknowledgement channels, and high loss while streaming or delivering extremely large files. An implementation of this protocol has now been developed at the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) for wider use and testing. This is intended to prototype delivery of data across dedicated astronomy radio telescope networks on the ground, where networked sensors in Very Long Baseline Interferometer (VLBI) instruments generate large amounts of data for processing and can send that data across private IP- and Ethernet-based links at very high rates. We describe this new Saratoga implementation, its features and focus on high throughput and link utilization, and lessons learned in developing this protocol for sensor-network applications." More

Can a Rocket Be Launched By A Laptop?

"The Rocket Project: Over the course of the next few months, 8 students assisted, by Tom Atchison and the Rocket Mavericks team will attempt to design, launch and operate a rocket using new Sony® VAIO notebooks." More information

Recent ISS Laptop Upgrades

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 5 October 2009

"Gennady reconfigured an A31p laptop (#1157) by equipping it with the HDD (Hard Disk Drive) of the Russian RS1 laptop (#1145), supported by ground specialist tagup."

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 4 October 2009

"Maxim Suraev performed the periodic update of the AntiVirus program in the Russian VKS auxiliary laptops (RSS2, RSK1, RSE1, RSE2) from a new uplinked program copy on the RSS1 laptop, first scanning the latter, then transferring the database by flash-card to the other computers and scanning them one by one."

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 2 October 2009

"CDR Padalka took Guy Laliberte on a one-hour orientation/briefing tour of the ISS, setting him up for his nine-day stay on board. Preparations included installing the SFP’s HDD (Hard Disk Drive) in the RSK2 laptop for his use. [Guy’s introduction covered SM windows 7 & 8 for Earth photo/video ops, NIKON D3X & SONY Z7 camera stowage locations & use, location for Guy’s daily VHF1 conferences, the SFP-PCG & SFP-ICG experiment container setup, etc.]"