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Orbiter Experiments Support Systems for OV-102 (Columbia)

The support system for the orbiter experiments was developed to record data obtained and to provide time correlation for the recorded data. The information obtained through the sensors of the OEX instruments must be recorded during the orbiter mission because there is no real-time or delayed downlink of OEX data. In addition, the analog data produced by certain instruments must be digitized for recording.

The support system for OEX comprises three subsystems: the OEX recorder, the system control module and the pulse code modulation system. The SCM is the primary interface between the OEX recorder and the experiment instruments and between the recorder and the orbiter systems. It transmits operating commands to the experiments. After such commands are transmitted, it controls the operation of the recorder to correspond to the experiment operation. The SCM is a microprocessor-based, solid-state control unit that provides a flexible means of commanding the OEX tape recorder and the OEX and modular auxiliary data system.

The PCM system accepts both digital and analog data from the experiments. It digitizes the analog data and molds it and the digital data received directly from the experiments into a single digital data stream that is recorded on the OEX recorder. The PCM also receives time information from the orbiter timing buffer and injects it into the digital data stream to provide the required time correlation for the OEX data.

The SCM selects any of 32 inputs and routes them to any of 28 recorder tracks or four-line driver outputs to the T-0 umbilical; executes real-time commands; controls experiments and data system components; and provides manual, semiautomatic and automatic control.

The recorder carries 9,400 feet of magnetic tape that permits up to two hours of recording time at a tape speed of 15 inches per second. After the return of the orbiter, the data tape is played back for recording on a ground system. The tape is not usually removed from the recorder.

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 04/07/2002
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