The ARTS(Airborne Research Test System) product line consists of embedded hardware and software environments including flight units, flight-equivalent laboratory units and portable test computers. The flight unit is an embedded computer integrated onto the aircraft that enables rapid deployment of research software. To date all flight units have been integrated with the aircraft’s main flight computer, which necessitates coordination with and involvement of the aircraft manufacturer.
The ARTS architecture employs physical partitioning to separate safety-critical components from research components. Though the components communicate via common bus architecture, only the safety-critical components communicate with the aircraft. This architecture ensures that uncertified (or minimally certified) research software operate safely without violating aircraft or mission restrictions. Because the safety-critical components are certified at the highest level (for NASA, NASA-STD-8719.13B), the research software does not have to be certified at that same level. ARTS provides a level of abstraction that allows research software to be loaded and tested easily and quickly; thus allowing more flight tests and quicker turnaround between flights. As a result, the ARTS architecture significantly increases opportunities for innovation and competition, enables reuse of components, and facilitates rapid technology insertion.
Summaries of current and former ARTS Systems: