NASA X-38 Crew Return Vehicle (CRV)

The X-38 CRV will provide crewmembers of the International Space Station (ISS) with the means to evacuate the Space Station quickly, in the event of an emergency, and return to earth. The NASA CRV, accommodating up to seven crewmembers, will eventually replace the Russian Soyuz spacecraft presently attached to the ISS.

Using COTS equipment and technology for as much as 80 percent of the spacecraft’s design, NASA selected our PowerPC processor for this mission critical environment. Our hardware is an integral part of the flight critical computers (the backbone of the spacecraft’s avionics) and the command and telemetry computers which serve as the vehicles primary man/machine interface, sending telemetry data to several destinations, including ground control and the Orbiter flight deck.

NASA’s innovative CRV will be the first new, manned spacecraft built to travel to and from space in the past 20 years. The X-38 CRV design uses a lifting body concept for flight and maneuverability. Unlike the space shuttle, the CRV does not have wings. All of the lift necessary to maneuver and fly comes from the lift generated by the flow of air over the body of the spacecraft and its fins. After the deorbit engine module is jettisoned, the CRV will glide from orbit unpowered like the Space Shuttle and then use a steerable parafoil parachute for its final descent to landing.