Many processors that are currently fitted in spacecrafts are long way back processors; 1990’s processors. But why they are still using so old processors to empower their machines?
For designers of spacecraft systems, the difficulty is that it often takes years to complete all testing and preparations necessary to obtain an operational system for space flights, as explained Shaun Dormon the Register.
“When a processor is finally ready to be used in space, it is long since expired on Earth,” writes Shaun Dormon. In the long term, these processors may show failures due to the extreme conditions of space, such as the “constant bombardment of ionized hydrogen radicals (more or less as free protons) and electrons that are energy ejected in the form of solar wind, resulting in the immediate degradation of circuits at the nanoscale.”
Among other examples of old components that feed the current spacecraft include the Curiosity robot sent to Mars by NASA, which uses a BAE Systems RAD750 computer. The RAD750 is based on the PowerPC 750 processor that was once found on the Apple iMac G3, released in 1997, says Shaun Dormon. Similarly, the Hubble Space Telescope uses an Intel 486 processor, installed in 1999.
CPUShack provides a informative chipsets summary that power most spaceships, more or less known.These include the International Space Station, which has several computers, the most important being the control computers that use the processor Intel i386, whose initial release was in 1985. The U.S. space shuttle out of service last year, also performed many essential functions in the i386 components.
There are two ways to analyze the situation using older processors may raise concerns about the resilience of the spacecraft, but it also reflects the sustainability of some flagship processors.CPUShack also recalls that the processors used in space must pass very rigorous tests. In addition, most spacecraft use multiple processors and includes many different sub-systems.