MISTE Team Aids LabVIEW Software Test on Flight-Like Hardware at JPL

JPL has successfully tested a version of National Instruments' LabVIEW data acquisition software on flight-like hardware. JPL's Measurement Technology Center and the MISTE flight experiment team have in place a Technology Cooperation Agreement (TCA) with National Instruments (NI) to develop and evaluate a version of LabVIEW programs to run on a real-time operating system. The objective of this TCA is to determine the feasibility of using LabVIEW as flight software on future space experiments. NI developed a prototype flight version of LabVIEW for running on a VxWorks real-time operating system using an embedded processor from the supplier DY4. JPL used this data acquisition system to test a flight-prototype temperature controller board developed for the Fast Alternative Cryogenic Experimental Testbed (FACET). Ball Aerospace built the controller board as part of the development of the future Low Temperature Microgravity Physics Facility (LTMPF). The JPL team successfully used LabVIEW software to precisely control the temperature of an isolated cryogenic platform. The next objective of this project is to upgrade the prototype software to replace presently-used C code in a flight experiment. Programming flight software with LabVIEW could save time and money for NASA and for other agencies and industry. This application is especially advantageous when merging code developed and used in ground-based laboratories into flight software.