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IBM Journal of Research and Development  
Volume 20, Number 1, Page 20 (1976)
Space-related Technology
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Redundancy Management Technique for Space Shuttle Computers

by J. R. Sklaroff
This paper describes how a set of off-the-shelf general purpose digital computers is being managed in a redundant avionic configuration while performing flight-critical functions for the Space Shuttle. The description covers the architecture of the redundant computer set, associated redundancy design requirements, and the technique used to detect a failed computer and to identify this failure on-board to the crew. Significant redundancy management requirements consist of imposing a total failure coverage on all flight-critical functions, when more than two redundant computers are operating in flight, and a maximum failure coverage for limited storage and processing time, when only two are operating. The basic design technique consists of using dedicated redundancy management hardware and software to allow each computer to judge the "health" of the others by comparing computer outputs and to "vote" on the judgments. In formulating the design, hardware simplicity, operational flexibility, and minimum computer resource utilization were used as criteria.
Related Subjects: Reliability; Space-related technology