Press Release

Agilent Technologies’ Software-Development Tools Selected by General Dynamics to Test Mars Exploration Rovers’ Communication Equipment

By SpaceRef Editor
March 9, 2004
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Technologies Inc. today announced that General Dynamics C4
Systems selected its system-development software to test communication
equipment used in the Mars Exploration Rovers. General Dynamics C4
Systems, formerly General Dynamics Decision Systems, supplied the
Small Deep Space Transponders (SDSTs) that provide the direct
Earth-communications link for the rovers. Agilent’s Visual Engineering
Environment (VEE) Pro provided the interface that allowed technicians
to control most of the test equipment, as well as the SDSTs, with just
the click of a few buttons.

The Mars Exploration Rovers, called Spirit and Opportunity, began
the quest to help scientists understand the history of water on Mars
after landing on the planet in January 2004. The Jet Propulsion
Laboratory (JPL), a division of the California Institute of Technology
in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover project for NASA’s
Office of Space Science in Washington, D.C.

“Accurate testing is critical in applications such as the NASA
Mars Exploration Rovers, where only maximum performance ensures
program success,” said Mark Pierpoint, vice president of Agilent’s
Measurement and Analysis Software Group. “VEE Pro helps engineers in a
broad range of industries develop accurate test systems quickly using
a simple, open environment.”

Agilent VEE Pro controlled the test equipment rack and provided
data logging, automated testing, and the command and telemetry
interface for testing of the SDSTs, which provide vital communication
links to and from Earth. There are also two SDSTs on board the Mars
Odyssey orbiter, which relay data to and from the rovers. General
Dynamics also uses VEE Pro to test another transponder product line
for near-Earth satellites that use the tracking and data relay
satellite system (TDRSS) and ground network S-Band signals.

About Agilent VEE Pro

Agilent VEE Pro is an easy-to-use, standards-based software
environment that helps speed development of measurement and control,
analysis, test-system and data-acquisition applications in industries
including aerospace and defense, wireless and consumer electronics.
Agilent VEE Pro intuitively simplifies all the tasks required for test
system development. VEE Pro uses an open standard, graphical user
interface environment to handle all common measurement tasks in design
and manufacturing, including connecting instruments, measurement,
analysis and reporting.

Further Information

About Agilent Technologies

Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE:ANews) is a global technology leader
in communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis.
The company’s 28,000 employees serve customers in more than 110
countries. Agilent had net revenue of $6.1 billion in fiscal year
2003. Information about Agilent is available on the Web at

NOTE TO EDITORS: Further technology, corporate citizenship and
executive news is available on the Agilent news site at

SpaceRef staff editor.