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Reconfigurable Orbiter Cockpit

The Shuttle "Glass Cockpit": Multifunction Electronic Display SubsystemFactsheet


Problem: Many Shuttle systems will become increasingly difficult to maintain long before the Shuttle's airframe reaches the end of its useful life. Like many commercial and military cockpits, the Shuttle's cockpit should undergo one or more significant upgrades before the end of the Shuttle program. The majority of cockpit facilities available to the Shuttle program are built around a fixed control and display interface. The configuration of these facilities is tightly maintained and changes to these facilities frequently require significant overhead and time.
Solution: The ROC provides a facility, a suite of tools, an architecture, and a team that can quickly build prototypes of new display and control ideas. Using the ROC and its team, human engineers, engineers, astronauts, and flight controllers can evaluate these ideas. From this analysis, they determine quickly and cheaply whether or not they want to pursue design, development, and implementation of new hardware and/or software. The ROC is flexible enough to support modified Shuttle cockpits, as well as cockpits for other potential spacecraft customers.
Initial Operation Date: The ROC reached initial operational capability in September, 1997. A suite of baseline displays was completed in January, 1998.
Technology Goal: Extensive surveys of and site visits to commercial and military facilities encouraged the development of a low-cost, COTS-based cockpit prototyping tool. The ROC provides a facility to infuse commercial techniques for instrumentation design, using tools like VAPS and Designer's Workbench and industry standards like OpenGL. The creation of continuous, large, flat cockpit display surfaces, a requirement that is currently fairly unique to testbeds like the ROC, may encourage the development of commercial products that are already being evaluated in industry. These commercial products may, in turn, provide low-cost, easily reconfigurable display surfaces for actual spacecraft cockpits.
Goals Supported: 1) Fly Safely
2) Meet the Manifest
3) Improve Supportability
4) Reduce Cost

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