Big Science Drives Wallops’ Upgrades for NASA Suborbital Missions | Science Technology

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Large amounts of data collected by today’s sensitive science instruments present a data-handling challenge to small rocket and balloon suborbital mission computing and avionics systems.

Large amounts of data collected by today’s sensitive science instruments present a data-handling challenge to small rocket and balloon mission computing systems.

“Just generally, science payloads are getting larger and more complex,” said astrophysicist Alan Kogut, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “You’re always pushing the limit of what can be done, and getting their data back quickly is clearly a high priority for the balloon science community.”

Suborbital science platforms provide low-cost, quick-turnaround test opportunities to study Earth, our solar system, and the universe. Engineers at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia are developing new, higher-capacity systems to process, store, and transmit that data using the IRAD Internal Research and Development Program.

One high-data effort, Kogut said, requires new types of sensors to capture faint patterns within the cosmic microwave background: the oldest light in the cosmos, which was…

Source www.nasa.gov

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