Some Information Processing Implications of Air Force Space Missions

1970-1980

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.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.

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