CompactPCI SBC hosts Wind River’s VxWorks in Mars Science Laboratory rover

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Curiosity rover, the most complex interplanetary robotic probe in history, landed safely on Mars last night at 10:31 PDT. The Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) operations of the rover’s infamous “Seven Minutes of Terror,” and now the scientific duties of the rover, will now be carried out by WindRiver’s VxWorks running on a 3U CompactPCI Single Board Computer from BAE Systems.

Hosted by the RAD750 3U CompactPCI SBC, chosen by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for its radiation-hardened characteristics, the VxWorks Real-Time Operating System (RTOS) was the core platform for the spacecraft control system during flight and will remain central to the Mars Science Laboratory’s operations for the duration of the Curiosity rover’s mission. These mission-critical tasks include data collection, Mars-to-Earth communications relay, and ground operations control.

The Curiosity rover is not Wind River’s first Mars exploration, as its technology is in operation on the Mars Exploration Rovers and was used in the Mars Pathfinder Mission, and has also been used in several other space expeditions. More information on Wind River’s space contributions and aerospace offerings is available at