Computers, Use Of - Research Article from Macmillan Science Library: Space Sciences

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Early Spaceflight Computers

The computers used in spaceflight have always been a mixture of leading and lagging technology. The fast chips used in desktop and laptop computers on Earth would never survive in space because cosmic gamma ray radiation would deposit electrical charges on the chips, and cause data loss or other failures. Therefore, many chips used in space are custom-designed with redundant circuitry: three circuits instead of one so that the three can vote on the correct answer and ignore a single incorrect result caused by cosmic radiation. In other cases standard chips can be protected from radiation with special metal shielding, but even then the onboard chips are typically ten or twenty times slower than Earth models.

The experience of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on the Apollo program changed the way people thought of software as a component in a large system...

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This section contains 1,154 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Computers, Use Of Encyclopedia Article
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Macmillan Science Library: Space Sciences
Computers, Use Of from Macmillan Science Library: Space Sciences. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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