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Forth in Space Applications

 Featured Forth Applications

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Also see: Space Shuttle Robot Arm Simulator

Reprinted from the 14 April 2003 version of NASA staff’s list of the uses of Forth in space applications. The list is archived at the Internet Archive WayBack Machine. The original URL was: http://forth.gsfc.nasa.gov/, where it was curated by NASA’s James Rash.

The following table presents space-related applications of Forth microprocessors and the Forth programming language, including:

  • spacecraft flight system controllers
  • on-board payload experiment controllers
  • ground support systems (e.g., communications controllers and data processing systems)
  • hardware or software used to build or test either flight or ground systems.

Developers are requested to supply table updates and corrections, as well as information regarding relevant projects not already included, as appropriate. Please send information, comments, and suggestions to the author of this web page. Authorization for release of the information is the responsibility of the contributor.

Notice: Nothing appearing in these pages is to be construed as an endorsement by NASA. The information may be changed or withdrawn at any time without notice. The author has obtained the information from sources believed to be reliable, and has attempted to ensure accuracy, but makes no guarantees or representations of any kind. Copying, using, and distributing the table is authorized, provided it is kept intact, properly attributed, and accompanied by this Notice.

DEVELOPER MISSION DESCRIPTION CONTACT
Baja Technology LLC IMAGE (launched March 2000) Controller for the Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) instrument, using Harris RTX2010 Forth microprocessor Jianxin Chen — jchen@
baja.uric.arizona.edu
Baja Technology LLC ROSETTA (awaiting launch as of April 2003) Controller for the Ion and Electron Sensor instrument, using Harris RTX2010 Forth microprocessor Jianxin Chen — jchen@
baja.uric.arizona.edu
Baja Technology LLC Deep Impact (in development as of April 2003) Controller for the Avionics & Control (AOC) system, using Harris RTX2010 Forth microprocessor Jianxin Chen — jchen@
baja.uric.arizona.edu
Ball Aerospace Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) Star Scanner instrument & control software, using Harris RTX 2000 Forth microprocessor  
Ball Aerospace Advanced X-Ray Astronomical Facility (AXAF) Software to control the Science Instrument selection and focus mechanisms, using Harris RTX 2010 Forth microprocessor  
Ball Aerospace Advanced X-Ray Astronomical Facility (AXAF) Software to operate precision CCD Aspect Camera, using Harris RTX 2010 Forth microprocessor  
Ball Aerospace Earth Observing System (EOS) Scanning mirror controller for the Thermal Imaging Radiometer (TIR), using Harris RTX 2010 Forth microprocessor  
Ball Aerospace Midcourse Sensor Experiment (MSX) – SDIO Star Tracker instrument & control software, using Harris RTX 2000 Forth microprocessor  
Ball Aerospace Military aircraft Star Tracker instrument & control software, using Harris RTX 2000 Forth microprocessor  
Ball Aerospace Miniature Seeker Technology Integration (MSTI) Star Tracker instrument & control software, using Harris RTX 2000 Forth microprocessor  
Ball Aerospace Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) Star Tracker instrument & control software, using Harris RTX 2000 Forth microprocessor  
Ball Aerospace SAGE (Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment) III CCD Controller Software, using Harris RTX 2010 Forth microprocessor Randal Vanvalkenburg at NASA/Langley: r.l.vanvalkenburg@ larc.nasa.gov
Ball Aerospace Shuttle Star Tracker instrument & control software, using Harris RTX 2000 Forth microprocessor  
Ball Aerospace Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite (SWAS) Star Tracker instrument & control software, using Harris RTX 2000 Forth microprocessor  
Ball Aerospace X-ray Timing Explorer (XTE) Star Tracker instrument & control software, using Harris RTX 2000 Forth microprocessor  
California Institute of Technology (Caltech) Advance Composition Explorer (ACE) Cosmic Ray Isotope Spectrometer (CRIS) instrument controller hardware (RTX2010) and software in Forth Walter Cook at wrc@ thor.srl.caltech.edu
California Institute of Technology (Caltech) Advance Composition Explorer (ACE) Solar IsotopeSpectrometer (SIS) instrument controller hardware (RTX2010) and software in Forth Walter Cook at wrc@ thor.srl.caltech.edu
FORTH, Inc. USAF Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Position encoder implemented with SwiftX cross compiler on Harris RTX-2010 Forth microprocessor Elizabeth Rather — erather@ forth.com
Innovatia Laboratories NASA & USAF tropospheric research balloons Telemetry system using Innovatia MC1 microcontroller running Forth-83 Dennis Feucht at dennisf@innovatia.com
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics
Laboratory (JHU/APL)
USAF DMSP Magnetometer instrument control  
JHU/APL USAF DMSP Special Sensor Ultraviolet Spectrographic Imager (SSUSI), 5 missions over 15 years using Harris RTX 2010 Forth microprocessor  
JHU/APL Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) satellite ULEIS (Ultra Low Energy Isotope Spectrometer), using embedded Harris RTX 2010 Forth microprocessor  
JHU/APL CASSINI spacecraft Magnetospheric Imager (MIMI) using Harris RTX 2010 Forth microprocessor  
JHU/APL HILAT Magnetometer instrument control  
JHU/APL Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope (HUT) Instrument control, on-line data analysis, telemetry  
JHU/APL MAGSAT Attitude Control Processor  
JHU/APL “Polar Bear” (Polar Beacon & Auroral Research Satellite) Magnetometer instrument control  
JHU/APL US Navy LONARS High precision navigation receiver using Loran-C Real time data processing & sensor control software  
JHU/APL Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) Command & Telemetry Processor,
Multi-Spectral Imaging System,
Infrared Spectrograph and Magnetometer,
X-ray/Gamma-ray Spectrometer, and
Laser Rangefinder, all using the Harris RTX 2010RH Forth microprocessor
 
Los Alamos National Laboratory Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) satellite Solar wind data processing unit, using Harris RTX 2010 Forth microprocessor  
McDonnell Douglas Shuttle – Electrophoresis Operations in Space (1986) Pharmaceutical purification process control software Robert Wood at rwood@ mdc.com
McGill University International Microgravity Laboratory (IML-1) (shuttle mission STS-42) Space Adaptation Syndrom Experiment management and data acquisition for four out of seven life science experiments Luc Lefebvre at lefebvre@ medcor.mcgill.ca
NASA/GSFC Compatibility Test Van (CTV) Dual channel PCM simulator system software  
NASA/GSFC Compatibility Test Van (CTV): Landsat, HST, GRO, COBE, UARS, etc., Wallops, Data Evaluation Lab Programmable Data Formatter III system software  
NASA/GSFC CRAF/CASSINI MASSACQ Flight Instrument Test/Calibration System  
NASA/GSFC Marine Optical Buoy (MOBY) Command and data acquisition system written in Forth Mark Yarbrough at yarbrough@ mlml.calstate.edu
NASA/GSFC Massively Parallel Processor (MPP) Image processing software  
NASA/GSFC NCC Mission Operations Support Area (MOSA) ITR (Intelligent Transmitter/Receiver) — Interface board for MOSA (formerly Mini-NOCC) Front End Thomas Sardella at Tom.Sardella@ nasa.gov
NASA/GSFC Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultra Violet (SSBUV) ozone calibration instrument with eight successful shuttle bay flights Small Payload Accommodation Module (SPAM) interface controller software written in Forth Bob Caffrey at Robert.T.Caffrey@ nasa.gov
NASA/GSFC Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultra Violet (SSBUV) Instrument Interface Electronics Module (IIEM) software written in Forth John T. (Tom) Riley at Tom.Riley@ nasa.gov
NASA/GSFC Shuttle Ozone Limb Sounder Experiment (SOLSE) A “Hitchhiker Junior”, to fly summer ’97 — instrument controller written
in Forth
(ditto)
NASA/GSFC Limb Ozone Retrieval Experiment (LORE) A small independent instrument within SOLSE — instrument controller written in Forth
(ditto)
NASA/GSFC Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UIT) on Space Shuttle Astro-2 mission Dedicated Experiment Processor (DEP) written in Forth Peter Chen at chen@ uit.gsfc.nasa.gov
NASA/GSFC Small Spacecraft Technology Initiative (SSTI) (Lewis Research Center/TRW) Goddard Electronics Module (GEM) data acquisition processor using Harris RTX-2010 Jay T. Miller at jay.t.miller.1@ gsfc.nasa.gov
NASA/GSFC ACE (JHU/APL) Spacecraft Loads & Acoustic Monitor (SLAM) simultaneous data acquisition and downlink subsystem using Harris RTX-2010
(ditto)
NASA/GSFC Wideband Transport Frame Formatter (WTFF) Virtual channel processor & system controller for the Advanced Orbiting Systems (AOS) Testbed using Harris RTX 2000 Forth microprocessor Jose Bentancort at Jose@ tsi-telsys.com
NASA/JSC Shuttle, IML-1 Krug Life Sciences Microgravity Vestibular Investigations  
NASA/JPL Shuttle Imaging Radar (SIR-B) Command & control software  
NASA TOPEX Portion of Ground Support Equipment software  
NSI Globalstar, Thuraya, Iridium, ICO, Astrolink, various NASA missions including SWAS (Sub millimeter wave astronomy satellite), Space Shuttle Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), and Rosetta (comet probe) Microwave nearfield antenna
testing of spacecraft antennas
www.nearfield.com
Dan Slater <dslater@ ix.netcom.com>
Orbital Sciences Corporation ORBCOMM Experimental Package OXP-1 on Pegasus Flight & experiment software  
Orbital Sciences Corporation ORBCOMM Experimental Package OXP-1 on Pegasus Flight & experiment software  
Orbital Sciences Corporation (formerly Fairchild Space & Defense) USAF Multimission Modular Spacecraft (MMS) Multiplex Data Bus Monitor/Recorder test equipment using Harris RTX2000 microprocessor and firmware written in Forth Mark A. Mowen at markmowen@ fsd.com
Orbital Sciences Corporation ORBCOMM-X Telemetry, flight control support  
Orbital Sciences Corporation USAF APEX Data management and power control software  
Orbital Sciences Corporation SeaStar Sea WiFs data management and power control software  
Orbital Sciences Corporation/Hercules Pegasus Telemetry & flight control  
Radio Amateur Satellite Corp. (AMSAT-DL (Germany)) Integrated Housekeeping Unit (including navigation, attitude control, telemetry and telecommand tracking, payload control, power management, health & safety, and propulsion control) and Ground Support Equipment, all using the Forth-like language IPS (Interpreter for Process Structures). OSCAR 21 used the Harris RTX2000 microprocessor.  
Swedish Space Corp./JHU/APL Freja Magnetometer experiment control Lawrence Zanetti at zanetti@ jhuapl.edu
University of California Galileo Magnetic Field Experiment instrument control  
University of Wisconsin Wisconsin Ultraviolet Photo-Polarimeter Experiment (WUPPE) Instrument control  
US Navy SPINSAT Portion of ground support equipment software  
USSR Baikonur Cosmodrome Telemetry data analysis & retrieval workstations  
Vertex Communications Corporation Satellite earthstation antenna systems 7210 Monopulse Antenna Control System on Motorola 68030 platform sales@ vcsd.com

Last revised: 14 April 2003

— Contact information regarding this web page —
Name Phone Code
Responsible NASA official Julie Loftis 301-286-5049 588
Curator & technical contact James Rash (james.l.rash @ nasa.gov) 301-286-5246 588

This reprint of NASA’s James Rash’s list of Forth in space applications is reprinted here, courtesy of FORTH, Inc., in order to preserve the information and make it more accessible. Contact information and cursor names might have changed. Additions are welcome, in the event that we may update it — use this web site’s general contact form to provide details. Thank you.