NASA has recently provided an advance release of its NASA Autonomous Flight Termination Unit (NAFTU) software code to the launch industry.
NAFTU is a command and control system that will be capable of launching vehicle providers for use at all U.S. launch ranges making sure of public safety during the operations. By doing so, launch companies will be able to integrate the software with their launch vehicle’s hardware and run performance simulations. This brings NAFTU closer to its final certification in February 2022.
To reach this, NASA is working with Sagrad, ASRC Federal, Axient/MEI and KBR to help in the development of the software’s test procedures and support certification testing. The agency has then conducted formal software dress rehearsals of the test procedures in December, which went well and are performing as designed.
These Autonomous Flight Termination Systems such as NAFTU are key components of the launch range of the future and are becoming mandatory requirements for the Department of Defense (DOD) that will be launching in 2025.