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James Hartsfield

RELEASE: 94-034 May 10, 1994

CONTRACT SIGNED FOR "GLASS COCKPIT" SHUTTLE UPGRADE

NASA has signed a contract modification with Rockwell International Space Systems Division, Downey, Calif. The contract, valued at $80.58 million, will provide for the production of the Multifunction Electronic Display Subsystem (MEDS) to be installed in each of the four Space Shuttle orbiters.

The MEDS consists of color active, matrix liquid crystal displays that will replace some of the current electromechanical flight instruments and meters in the Shuttle cockpit. Installation and first flight of the equipment is planned for 1998. Similiar technology, commonly called "glass cockpit" instrumentation, is already in use in commercial aircraft. The MEDS will be among the first United States-manufactured liquid crystal flat panel displays to be used in aerospace.

The displays will provide state-of-the-art, multifunction interfaces between the flight crew and the Shuttle orbiter's flight control computers. They will provide computer-generated information on altitude, airspeed, heading, vehicle attitude, and other aspects of flight control. They also will replace the current cathode ray tube displays in the Shuttle cockpit.

The contract covers the production of MEDS equipment to be installed in all Shuttle orbiter trainers and avionics laboratories at JSC. The contract also includes fabrication, assembly, acceptance testing, packaging and delivery of the MEDS hardware.

The majority of the prime contract effort will be performed at the Rockwell facility in Downey. The majority of subcontract effort will be performed at the Honeywell, Inc., facility in Phoenix, Az.

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