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Eric Bruno

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Java Tracks Space-Junk

April 14, 2008

Sun announced today that ITT is using Sun's Java Real-Time System (Java RTS) to build an earth-bound system to track items in Earth-orbit (http://www.sun.com/aboutsun/pr/2008-04/sunflash.20080414.3.xml ).

 

ITT's Eglin Space Surveillance Radar will be re-implemented in Java running with Solaris 10 and Java RTS on general purpose hardware. This configuration saves them tons of money compared with the special-purpose hardware/OS combination they use now, or that other real-time Java environments require. 

A deterministic Java virtual machine based on the RTSJ (http://www.rtsj.org/specjavadoc/book_index.html) is required when tracking thousands of objects in orbit because even the slightest jitter, never mind unbounded garbage collection pauses, can cause huge errors in trajectory calculations. Java RTS and the built-in real-time features of Solaris 10 help to ensure deterministic system behavior overall. It's important to get those calculations right, predictably, when you have Space Shuttle launches that may otherwise be put in jeopardy.

You can read all about Sun's Java RTS here: http://java.sun.com/javase/technologies/realtime/

Happy coding!
-EJB

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