firstshuttlelaunch nasa NASA and US Air Force looking for next generation space processor

NASA and the US Air Force Research Laboratory have joined forces in the search for a next-generation processor to power the spacecraft computing needs of the future.

NASA and the US Air Force Research Laboratory have joined forces in the search for a next-generation processor to power the spacecraft computing needs of the future.

 
The duo established the Air Force Next Generation Space Processor Analysis Program, which is calling for between two and four companies to perform a year-long evaluation of advanced space-based applications that would use spaceflight processors in the decade of 2020-2030.
 
“Computer processors and applications aboard spacecraft will need to transform dramatically to take advantage of computational leaps in technology and new mission needs,” said Michael Gazarik, associate administrator for NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate at the agency's headquarters in Washington. “NASA's Space Technology Program is teaming with the Air Force to develop the next generation spaceflight processor requirements and propose solutions to meet future high performance space computing needs in the upcoming decades.”
 
firstshuttlelaunch nasa NASA and US Air Force looking for next generation space processor
The launch of the first shuttle in 1981. Since then technology has come a long way, and NASA wants to push it further.
 
The hope is that future processors used in spacecraft will be so powerful that they can perform autonomous pinpoint landing with hazard detection and avoidance during entry, descent, and landing during moon or Mars missions. This is in addition to real-time segmented mirror control on space telescopes, onboard real-time analysis of hyperspectral images, autonomous onboard situational analysis and real-time mission planning, and real-time mode-based fault protection for spacecraft.
 
NASA and the US Air Force will award a $2 million contract between the companies selected for the year-long research. Further funding of around $20 million will be made available for an up to four-year contract to develop a spaceflight microprocessor capable of meeting the space agency's needs for future missions.
 
Image Credit: NASA