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MSU launches experiment to ISS

launch.jpgThe Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the HTV-6 automated resupply spacecraft for the International Space Station (ISS) atop their H-IIB rocket in December.

 Liftoff from the Tanegashima Space Center occurred at 22:26:47 Japan Standard Time.  HTV-6 contained supplies for the astronauts onboard ISS and several experiments to be installed on the orbiting station.

Among these space experiments is DM-7, developed by Morehead State University and Honeywell Space and Defense Technologies (Clearwater, Florida).

The experiment titled, “DM Payload Processor TRL7 Flight Validation Experiment” will be completed in one year and is slated to fly on the ISS in 2016.  During the project the Honeywell-MSU team will build, test, and fly a small, light-weight, low-power, and low-cost, high performance, Dependable Multiprocessor Payload Processor on an ISS flight experiment.  The Dependable Multiprocessor, referred to as DM, is a scalable, expandable parallel processor, essentially a miniature supercomputer, designed by Honeywell and the Space Science Center at Morehead State for small satellite applications.

The objective of the program is to develop a flight computer for small satellites that has 100x the processing capability of state-of-the-art radiation hardened processors for much lower cost and to allow space applications to keep pace with commercial development instead of being two or three generations behind terrestrial high performance processing.  The idea for the experiment evolved from Honeywell and MSU’s work on advanced computing systems for small satellite systems.  The two organizations had teamed together on developing this technology for the U.S. Department of Defense and NASA.

DM is the brainchild of Dr. John R. Samson Jr. (formerly Honeywell Aerospace, Defense and Space now an MSU affiliate) who is serving as the principal investigator” on the ISS DM Flight Experiment.  

MSU’s research team includes Kevin Brown, the project lead; Dr. Ben Malphrus, Space Science Center executive director; Bob Kroll, space systems engineer; Dr. Charles Conner, research scientist; Michael Combs, telescope operations engineer; and Eric Thomas, star theater director.

Several students worked on the development of DM-7 including Jeremy Rice, senior space science major, and Michael Glaser-Garbrick, a student in the Master of Science in Space Systems Engineering program.

DM-7 will be installed on the Nanoracks External platform to validate its performance in the space radiation environment.  If successful, DM-7 could lead to low-cost, high performance, radiation-tolerant microprocessor systems for small spacecraft.

Additional information about the DM-7 mission is available by contacting Dr. Malphrus at 606-783-2381 or Visit MSU's Space Science Center to learn more about MSU space research.