The radiation-hardened computer processes large volumes of scientific data, manages the satellite's directional orientation, and runs the software that keeps the spacecraft in orbit. With more than 500 such systems now in orbit, BAE Systems is the world's leading provider of computers capable of withstanding the radiation, temperature, vibration, and other extremes encountered in space flight.
"The RAD750 computer will play a critical role in sending massive amounts of infrared data back to Earth," said Vic Scuderi, manager of satellite electronics at BAE Systems' specialty microelectronics foundry in Manassas, Virginia. "We share the scientific community's excitement over the WISE mission and its endless potential for scientific discovery."
WISE will produce a complete infrared map of the universe to enable scientists to see space objects that are not visible with most telescopes, such as asteroids and ultra-luminous galaxies. The 10-month mission will provide a map to guide future telescope missions such as NASA's James Webb Telescope, set to launch in 2014.
BAE Systems has been building radiation-hardened computers since the early 1990s. The latest version, the RAD750, was developed through a partnership among BAE Systems, the Air Force Research Laboratory, and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
About BAE Systems
BAE Systems is the premier global defense, security and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions and customer support services. With approximately 105,000 employees worldwide, BAE Systems' sales exceeded £18.5 billion (US $34.4 billion) in 2008.