Some Information Processing Implications of Air Force Space Missions


by Barry W. Boehm


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Text of a briefing to the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board on problems in space and flight computing. Off-the-shelf information processing is inadequate for real-time image processing, multisensor analysis, decision-oriented displays, and the Space Transportation System (STS). Undetected program errors could lead to dangerous strategic confrontations or incapacitate a key defense at a critical time. The Air Force should (1) push development of a high-capability, high-capacity, floating-point on-board computer; (2) buy at least 50 to 100 percent more computing capacity than is absolutely necessary, to avoid complex space-saving programming; (3) begin serious work on the STS software now; and (4) study the feasibility of an Air Force software testing facility comparable with hardware testing facilities.

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