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.


The state of the art of spaceborne digital computer systems has undergone a rapid development over the past decade and will continue to do so in the future. An onboard digital computer has now become essential for most new space vehicles. This section provides a brief description and appraisal of some of the design and flight experience of these systems, and the technology which presently exists.

To appraise the various design approaches to spaceborne computers, it is convenient to consider their common features. Table I summarizes the more important characteristics of selected digital computers which have been designed,or are under development for space vehicle application. Although the data in table I was compiled from numerous sources, much of the information was drawn from references 1 and 2. Due primarily to the differences in requirements between launch vehicles and spacecraft, separate computer systems are usually designed for both the launch vehicle and spacecraft. The launch vehicle requires a large amount of complex high-speed computation, while the spacecraft has fewer computations over a long period of time.

Table 1

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Last Revised: February 03, 2010
Digital Engineering Institute
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