NASA, Boeing test Space Launch System software - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

NASA, Boeing test Space Launch System software

SLS flight software was tested Thursday (Source: NASA) SLS flight software was tested Thursday (Source: NASA)

NASA and its aerospace partners are planning beyond the end of the International Space System's service life in 2024.

They are developing a rocket at the Marshall Space Flight Center called the Space Launch System (SLS) that should take them to an asteroid, the moon, and Mars. Specifically, NASA and Boeing unveiled the central nervous system of the new rocket - the avionics hardware - and the software that controls it.

The cutting-edge, state-of-the-art navigation system will guide the SLS from pre-launch well into space. Its brains are borrowed from the latest and most advanced spacecraft flying. That helped engineers get well ahead of schedule and not have to re-invent the "ring."

"We can now get to the fun part. What we engineers like to do is pull the system together, make it work and figure out how it works, and having this capability in place while we are still in the development phase is just a great tool," said Deputy SLS Lead Dan Mitchell.

The software that engineers are using integrates all the functions in the rocket, so in simulations, they are literally throwing all sorts of scenarios at the rocket to test its capability and response ahead of a critical design review in a few months' time.

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