NASA Office of Logic Design

NASA Office of Logic Design

A scientific study of the problems of digital engineering for space flight systems,
with a view to their practical solution.

NASA SP-504: Space Shuttle Avionics System

Section 3  System Design Evolution


The Space Shuttle avionics system is the result of a number of years of studies, analyses, design tradeoffs, and iterations conducted by NASA and the Space Shuttle contractors. The design was affected by a variety of requirements and constraints including those imposed by the Space Shuttle vehicle and its systems, the mission and associated policies under which the flights were to be conducted, the USAF, the user community, and the state of technology as described previously. Many features or aspects of the system derived from experience on previous space programs, from the results of in-house NASA and contractor advanced development projects, and, in some cases, from arbitrary choices of the design community. Programmatic aspects such as cost, schedule, and the need to settle on a baseline early in the program also had a strong influence. It is the intent in this section to lead the reader through the most significant portions of this design process. In the discussion to follow, the top-level mechanization drivers which dictated the basic system architecture and design approach are addressed first. Then, the major tradeoffs or design issues which led to the particular mechanization aspects or important features of the system are examined.

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