Press Release

Wind River Powers Mars Exploration Rovers — Continues Legacy as Technology Provider for NASA’s Space Exploration

By SpaceRef Editor
June 7, 2003
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Wind River
Systems, Inc.


  • NASA JPL relies on Wind River’s proven technology for space
    exploration in the Mars Exploration Rover program

  • Wind River powers this and other current NASA JPL missions,
    including NASA JPL’s Stardust and NASA JPL’s Mars Odyssey

  • Wind River technology maintains and services Rovers in
    real-time even in the farthest reaches of the universe

Wind River Systems, Inc., the worldwide market
leader in software and services, today announced that the NASA Jet
Propulsion Laboratory’s (JPL) twin robot geologists, the Mars
Exploration Rovers, are powered by Wind River technology. Following
the success of the 1997 Mars Pathfinder Mission, NASA JPL once again
selected Wind River’s industry leading real time operating system
(RTOS), VxWorks — whose reliability under extreme circumstances is
unmatched in the industry — to create the “brains” of the new Rovers.
Wind River technology will enable the machines to perform complex,
mission-critical tasks, including trajectory, descent and ground
operations control, data collection, Mars to Earth communication relay
and more.

Wind River was the first commercial operation system to go to Mars
when it worked with NASA JPL on the successful 1997 Mars Pathfinder
Mission. The Mars Pathfinder included a base station, the Carl Sagan
Memorial Station, which was powered by Wind River. The base station
controlled critical mission activities ranging from trajectory, to
landing, to guiding an exploratory rover, the Sojourner, which
collected data and photographs that were sent back to Earth.

With greater mobility than the 1997 Mars Pathfinder, these
self-sufficient robots will now be able to trek up to approximately 40
meters across the surface each day — as compared to the few meters
per day that the Pathfinder Sojourner could travel. Wind River
technology will once again power the mission-critical operations and
help relay critical data back to Earth. The Mars Exploration Rover
“twins” are scheduled to blast off to Mars in two separate launches
scheduled for June 8th and June 25th, 2003 and are scheduled to land
at separate sites on Mars in January 2004.

“Wind River is extremely proud of its role as a technology
supplier for a prestigious organization such as NASA JPL. Wind River’s
technology has helped power successful missions that further space
exploration while helping NASA deliver on its commitment to low-cost
planetary exploration,” said Jerry Fiddler, chairman and co-founder
for Wind River. “NASA JPL’s decision to work with Wind River on the
first and the second generation of Mars Rovers is testament to the
proven, reliable technology and services that Wind River provides its
customers time and time again.”

Since its inception in 1981, Wind River has been a trusted advisor
in the development of aerospace and defense products. The company’s
reliable technology has successfully powered countless products in the
reaches of our universe, including NASA’s space “lifeboat,” NASA’s
Deep Space One satellite, and the European Space Agency’s PROBA
satellite, among others. The flexibility and portability of Wind
River’s software has allowed NASA JPL engineers to leverage work for
future projects and enables concurrent development and debugging of
the application, which is critical in the unlikely event the system
needs to be adjusted from millions of miles away.

The Mars Exploration Rover mission is part of the NASA Jet
Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), NASA’s lead center for robotic
exploration of the solar system, which is managed by the California
Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif.

For More Information

To learn more about Mars Exploration Rovers, go to

For more information on Wind River’s work in Aerospace and
Defense, go to

About Wind River

Wind River is the worldwide leader in embedded software and
services. It provides market-specific embedded platforms that
integrate real-time operating systems, development tools and
technologies. Wind River’s products and professional services are used
in multiple markets including aerospace and defense, automotive,
digital consumer, industrial, and network infrastructure. Wind River
provides high-integrity technology and expertise that enables its
customers to create superior products more efficiently. Companies from
around the world turn to Wind River to create the most reliable
products and to accelerate their time to market.

Founded in 1981, Wind River is headquartered in Alameda, Calif.,
with operations worldwide. To learn more, visit Wind River at or call Wind River at 800/872-4977.

Note to Editors: Wind River Systems and the Wind River Systems
logo are trademarks of Wind River Systems, Inc., and VxWorks is a
registered trademark of Wind River Systems, Inc. All other names
mentioned are trademarks, registered trademarks or service marks of
their respective companies.

SpaceRef staff editor.