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Reflections To The Future, highlights the need for low cost avionics systems, suitable for use on simple sounding rockets, up through orbital insertion. Microcosm, has designed and built such a low cost Avionics Suite in support of the NASA-Marshall SR-S sounding rocket The SR-S concept is based on earlier Microcosm work in recognition that launch vehicle development costs plus operational costs far exceed unit build costs. Design of a Digital Avionics System, to truly minimize cost, required that all development and operational aspects be part of the design, particularly Safety, Reliability and Cost. Modularity techniques were adopted which avoided expensive and complicated design, development and integration. Several interesting approaches are described in this paper: 1) a safe and simple battery power system, 2) safe, reliable and low cost cabling, wiring and umbilical system, 3) Programmable Built-In-Test/ telemetry system, 4) innovative construction techniques and materials, and 5) a system designed by choosing components that together, provide the lowest life cycle cost with adequate performance. The Generic Navigation and Control system, implementation using modularity and scaleability principles, promise future reusability at system, equipment, module and component levels.

Download “A Low Cost Avionics System Support Approach for Low Cost Launch Vehicles”

Walton, W., 1997. “A Low Cost Avionics System Support Approach for Low Cost Launch Vehicles.” Paper No. DASC97-XVI-xxx.