PESA Supplies Switchers for Space Station Communications

NASA upgrades Mission Control with PESA router.
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PESA, a U.S.-based manufacturer of professional audio and video signal distribution products, announced the completion of a video routing system upgrade to NASA’s Mission Control Center (MCC) at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Lockheed Martin, a prime contractor for NASA, commissioned PESA to provide hardware and system training for its Cheetah Video Distribution System.

Mission Control supports 24/7 operations for the International Space Station and its partners, which include NASA, the Russian Federal Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, European Space Agency, Canadian Space Agency, and payload oversight from the Payload Operations Integration Center at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Operators at these remote locations frequently require the ability to individually manage the specific video resources allocated to them. With an IP-based PERC2000 system controller paired with Cattrax Web (PESA’s browser-based router control software), NASA’s technical team can configure input and output sources specific to user or mission requirements, limiting access to only those video sources and destinations for which the user has authorization.

Also key to the success of the project was PESA’s hybrid video hardware system, which supports both fiber optics and coaxial sources from a variety of broadcast and computer signal formats. Using PESA’s Vidblox extender/scaler units, every SDI, VGA, and DVI video source is fed through the router and securely distributed to the desired display or recording system.

This project’s video distribution system hardware is based on a Cheetah 288XR frame that allows NASA to route 288 input sources to 432 workstations and display screens. PESA’s Cheetah routing switchers have been certified under the Department of Defense Joint Interoperability Test Command, and comply with the new JITC VDS specifications.

“We were very pleased to hear all the positive responses on how well the MCC came out both functionally and aesthetically,” said Howard Sutton, executive chairman of PESA. “We knew we had to deliver a system for the 24/7 control room that would provide instant access to real-time data and video feeds coming from satellite and ISS sources.”

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