Case Study: NASA

United Space Alliance LLC, for NASA
Houston, TX

Product: Space Shuttle Cockpit Avionics Upgrade Software

[Abstract] The purpose of the Space Shuttle Cockpit avionics Upgrade project was to reduce crew workload and improve situational awareness. The upgrade was to augment the Shuttle avionics system with new hardware and software. An early version of this system was used to gather human factor statistics in the Space Shuttle Motion Simulator of the Johnson Space Center for one month by multiple teams of astronauts. The results were compiled by NASA Ames Research Center and it was determined that the system provided a better than expected increase in situational awareness and reduction in crew workload. Even with all of the benefits of the system, NASA cancelled the project towards the end of the development cycle [when the US Congress defunded the Space Shuttle program -Ed.]. 1

RTPatch Embedded for VxWorks was selected to provide byte-level changes to the Software Update component (in-flight) and in the Maintenance Mode software:

[Section 5.2] RTPatch was the COTS product selected for use to patch the CDP software. It was VxWorks compatible and had a long shelf life in its use by Microsoft products. The product was to be used in the Software Updates component of Normal Mode and in the Maintenance Mode software. 1


1PDF: "Case Study of the Space Shuttle Cockpit Avionics Upgrade Software" by Roscoe C. Ferguson and Hiram Thompson, of United Space Alliance