Aviation Software Experts to Meet

A committee of international computing specialists who develop guidelines for software-intensive aviation systems will gather from March 19-23 at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach, Fla., campus for a Meeting on Software Considerations in Aeronautical Systems.

The committee of 150 professionals from industry, government, and academia meets twice a year, alternately in Europe and the United States. It is a collaborative undertaking by RTCA Inc. and the European Organization for Civil Aviation Equipment (EUROCAE).

Organized in 1935 as the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics, RTCA is a private, nonprofit corporation that develops recommendations on communications, navigation, surveillance, and air traffic management systems. EUROCAE was created in 1963 as a European forum for administrations, airlines, and industry to discuss technical problems and prepare performance specifications for airborne electronic equipment.

In the meeting at Embry-Riddle, the committee will be tasked with updating the aviation industry’s guideline on the software aspects of certification of airborne equipment and systems.

Aircraft depend on a variety of digital on-board systems for autopilots, engine control, navigation, and radar, and on-ground systems for air traffic control and management. These software-intensive systems must interact by data links to perform ground system interrogation of on-board transponders, aircraft broadcast of position and status information, and other critical tasks. The system’s correctness relies on the correct operation of the associated software.

“Good software engineering practices are critical for producing dependable software,” says Andrew Kornecki, professor of computer and software engineering at Embry-Riddle. He says Embry-Riddle is an ideal place for the worldwide meeting, because “we place a special emphasis here on software process and the dependability and safety of embedded computer systems.”

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, offers more than 30 degree programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business, and Engineering. The university educates more than 34,000 students annually in undergraduate and graduate programs at residential campuses in Prescott, Ariz., and Daytona Beach, Fla., through its Worldwide Campus at more than 130 centers in the United States and Europe, and through online learning.

For more information, visit http://www.erau.edu

The Jack Swigert Award for Space Exploration

The Space Foundation announced the 2007 recipient of the Jack Swigert Award for Space Exploration;
The astronomical observatories, scientists, researchers, and students of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) will be honored with the award Monday, April 9 in Colorado Springs during the Opening Ceremony of the 23rd National Space Symposium.

The award honors the memory of Apollo 13 astronaut and Colorado Congressman-elect Jack Swigert.

The National Space Symposium is the premier annual space industry conference and will take place April 9-12, 2007, at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.

“Over the decades, Caltech has provided us with eyes to explore the universe and guides to improve our understanding of what we see there,” said Elliot G. Pulham, president and chief executive officer of the Space Foundation. “We are pleased to honor Caltech for its enormous body of astronomical research that expands our knowledge of the universe.”

The California Institute of Technology was chosen as the recipient of the Jack Swigert Award for Space Exploration for the trailblazing body of astronomy research and discoveries made by the Caltech astronomy community and the successful management of one of the world’s most impressive portfolio of observatories – the telescopes of the Palomar Observatory, the W.M. Keck Observatory, the Owens Valley Radio Observatory, the Chajnanator Observatory, the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory, the Big Bear Solar Observatory, and the Robinson/ Downs Rooftop Observatories.


New Horizons Nears Jupiter

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is on the doorstep of the solar system’s largest planet. The spacecraft will study and swing past Jupiter, increasing speed on its voyage toward Pluto, the Kuiper Belt and beyond.

The fastest spacecraft ever launched, New Horizons will make its closest pass to Jupiter on Feb. 28, 2007. Jupiter’s gravity will accelerate New Horizons away from the sun by an additional 9,000 miles per hour, pushing it past 52,000 mph and hurling it toward a pass through the Pluto system in July 2015.

“Our highest priority is to get the spacecraft safely through the gravity assist and on its way to Pluto,” says New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo. “We also have an incredible opportunity to conduct a real-world encounter stress test to wring out our procedures and techniques, and to collect some valuable science data.”

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