21 December 2006

Linux launched from new US site

As well as being a new commercial launch site in the US, it turns out that MARS/Wallops’ initial launch featured a Linux-based tactical satellite, “The [. . .] independent embedded consulting firm developed, ported, and integrated the Linux kernel, device drivers, and other related system software, so that NRL engineers could ‘concentrate on the RF mission,’ ” so in this sense at least, Linux really was faster. (-:

It turns out that as well as TacSat-2, fired off last weekend, the previous incarnation, TacSat-1 — to be launched next year — was also Linux-based; “With less than a year to design and build a satellite, this team used existing sensor hardware, industry-standard parts, shell scripts and our favorite OS to make the project come together.”

TacSat-2 is one of a set of five USAF satellites designed to fly from the new launchpad, which now admits to an official name: Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS).

For those PowerPC fans out there, both TacSats so far feature integrated PowerPC chips running on a 2.4.25 kernel.

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