Going Wireless

Northrop Grumman announced yesterday that it has received a $4.1 million contract from the Air Force Research Lab to develop a robust, radiation-hardened wireless spacecraft data bus. “The innovative program will redefine spacecraft of the future,” said John Brock, Northrop’s director of mission technology futures. He added, “Wireless technology will allow us to build faster, lower cost, and lighter weight spacecraft by reducing the extensive touch labor, risks, and complexities associated with integrating heavy, copper wire harnesses.” The data bus serves as the electrical interface between a satellite’s equipment and payloads. Under this 21-month phase I contract, Northrop will design the wireless bus to enhance AFRL’s space plug-and-play avionics architecture. This work will conclude with the establishment of a wireless standard, such as Bluetooth, the company said.