General Dynamics Tests Mars Rovers with Agilent's Software Tools

3/10/2004 - Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) announced that General Dynamics C4 Systems selected its system-development software to test communication equipment used in the Mars Exploration Rovers. General Dynamics C4 Systems, formerly General Dynamics Decision Systems, supplied the Small Deep Space Transponders (SDSTs) that provide the direct Earth-communications link for the rovers. Agilent's Visual Engineering Environment (VEE) Pro provided the interface that allowed technicians to control most of the test equipment, as well as the SDSTs, with just the click of a few buttons.

The Mars Exploration Rovers, called Spirit and Opportunity, began the quest to help scientists understand the history of water on Mars after landing on the planet in January 2004. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover project for NASA's Office of Space Science in Washington, D.C.

"Accurate testing is critical in applications such as the NASA Mars Exploration Rovers, where only maximum performance ensures program success," said Mark Pierpoint, vice president of Agilent's Measurement and Analysis Software Group. "VEE Pro helps engineers in a broad range of industries develop accurate test systems quickly using a simple, open environment."

Agilent VEE Pro controlled the test equipment rack and provided data logging, automated testing, and the command and telemetry interface for testing of the SDSTs, which provide vital communication links to and from Earth. There are also two SDSTs on board the Mars Odyssey orbiter, which relay data to and from the rovers. General Dynamics also uses VEE Pro to test another transponder product line for near-Earth satellites that use the tracking and data relay satellite system (TDRSS) and ground network S-Band signals.

About Agilent VEE Pro
Agilent VEE Pro is an easy-to-use, standards-based software environment that helps speed development of measurement and control, analysis, test-system and data-acquisition applications in industries including aerospace and defense, wireless and consumer electronics. Agilent VEE Pro intuitively simplifies all the tasks required for test system development. VEE Pro uses an open standard, graphical user interface environment to handle all common measurement tasks in design and manufacturing, including connecting instruments, measurement, analysis and reporting.

Further Information
Information about the Agilent VEE Pro is available at
Information about the Mars Exploration Rover project is available at

About Agilent Technologies
Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is a global technology leader in communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis. The company's 28,000 employees serve customers in more than 110 countries. Agilent had net revenue of $6.1 billion in fiscal year 2003. Information about Agilent is available on the Web at

Previous Page | News by Category | News Search

If you found this page useful, bookmark and share it on: