System News
NASA National Scientific Balloon Facility
Integrates BiTMICRO's Solid-State Disk Storage Technology
November 20, 2001,
Volume 45, Issue 3

The National Scientific Balloon Facility (NSBF) incorporated BiTMICRO Networks' flash drive solid-state disk (SSD) solutions for use in NSBF research, engineering and operational support. BiTMICRO's E-Disks have been incorporated specifically into NSBF's new balloon flight systems. The NSBF is a NASA facility that provides the services of launching high altitude research balloons, tracking and recovering the scientific experiments suspended beneath them for universities and NASA centers from all over the world.

BiTMICRO's first generation E-Disk flashdrive SSD based on patented FlashBus technology offers sustained random read and write transfer rates of up to 68 megabytes a second and random access times of less than 48 microseconds. The E-Disk's flash drive storage capacity ranges between 128 megabytes and 77 gigabytes.

Each E-Disk flashdisk solid state drive device is configured to have the same form, fit and function as hard disk drives (HDD), but without the need for large power heat dissipation, noise protection and environmental hardening. They are offered with SCSI, IDE or Fibre Channel interface in 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch HDD form factors.

The E-Disks, utilizing BiTMICRO's FlashBus technology, are fully compatible with Linux, SolarisTM Operating Environment (Solaris OE), Microsoft Windows, MacOS and LynxOS using standard drivers. They also support AIX, FreeBSD, HP-UX, IRIX, NetBSD, OS/2, QNX, VxWorks, SCO Unixware and OpenServer, Solaris OE x86 and Tru64.

The NSBF Palestine, Texas, Facility provides complete balloon operations services and engineering support to the United States and foreign scientific communities. The services provided include inflation, launching of the balloon, tracking and recovery of the payload, and telecommand and data retrieval with reliable electronics systems.

Some of the NSBF areas of engineering support are the design of balloon systems, research in balloon materials, electronics design, gondola design and thermal analysis. Also included are power system design, instrumentation design and integration, and recovery system design.

Some types of research for which balloons are used are Cosmic Ray studies, Gamma Ray and X-Ray Astronomy, Optical and Ultra-Violet Astronomy, Infrared Astronomy, Atmospheric Sciences, Magnetospherics and Micrometeorite Particles.

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