Wind River Powers Mars Exploration Rovers--Continues Legacy as Technology Provider for NASA's Space Exploration

  • NASA JPL relies on Wind River's proven technology for space exploration in the Mars Exploration Rover program
  • Wind River powers this and other current NASA JPL missions, including NASA JPL's Stardust and NASA JPL's Mars Odyssey
  • Wind River technology maintains and services Rovers in real-time even in the farthest reaches of the universe

Alameda, CA--June 06, 2003--Wind River Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq:WIND), the worldwide market leader in embedded software and services, today announced that the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's (JPL) twin robot geologists, the Mars Exploration Rovers, are powered by Wind River technology. Following the success of the 1997 Mars Pathfinder Mission, NASA JPL once again selected Wind River's industry leading real time operating system (RTOS), VxWorks--whose reliability under extreme circumstances is unmatched in the industry--to create the "brains" of the new Rovers. Wind River technology will enable the machines to perform complex, mission-critical tasks, including trajectory, descent and ground operations control, data collection, Mars to Earth communication relay and more.

Wind River was the first commercial operating system to go to Mars when it worked with NASA JPL on the successful 1997 Mars Pathfinder Mission. The Mars Pathfinder included a base station, the Carl Sagan Memorial Station, which was powered by Wind River. The base station controlled critical mission activities ranging from trajectory, to landing, to guiding an exploratory rover, the Sojourner, which collected data and photographs that were sent back to Earth.

With greater mobility than the 1997 Mars Pathfinder, these self-sufficient robots will now be able to trek up to approximately 40 meters across the surface each day--as compared to the few meters per day that the Pathfinder Sojourner could travel. Wind River technology will once again power the mission-critical operations and help relay critical data back to Earth. The Mars Exploration Rover "twins" are scheduled to blast off to Mars in two separate launches scheduled for June 8th and June 25th, 2003 and are scheduled to land at separate sites on Mars in January 2004.

"Wind River is extremely proud of its role as a technology supplier for a prestigious organization such as NASA JPL. Wind River's technology has helped power successful missions that further space exploration while helping NASA deliver on its commitment to low-cost planetary exploration," said Jerry Fiddler, chairman and co-founder for Wind River. "NASA JPL's decision to work with Wind River on the first and the second generation of Mars Rovers is testament to the proven, reliable technology and services that Wind River provides its customers time and time again."

The Mars Exploration Rovers' software packages were developed using Tornado 1.0.1 for Mars Exploration Rover (a special release) and debugger with updates spanning VxWorks releases from 5.1 through 5.5. The flexibility and portability of Wind River's software has allowed NASA JPL engineers to leverage work for future projects and enables concurrent development and debugging of the application, which is critical in the unlikely event the system needs to be adjusted from millions of miles away.

Since its inception in 1981, Wind River has been a trusted advisor in the development of aerospace and defense products. The company's reliable technology has successfully powered countless products in the reaches of our universe, including NASA's space "lifeboat," NASA's Deep Space One satellite, and the European Space Agency's PROBA satellite, among others.

The Mars Exploration Rover mission is part of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), NASA's lead center for robotic exploration of the solar system, which is managed by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif.

For More Information
To learn more about Mars Exploration Rovers, go to;
For more information on Wind River's work in Aerospace and Defense, go to

About Wind River
Wind River is the worldwide leader in embedded software and services. It provides market-specific embedded platforms that integrate real-time operating systems, development tools and technologies. Wind River's products and professional services are used in multiple markets including aerospace and defense, automotive, digital consumer, industrial, and network infrastructure. Wind River provides high-integrity technology and expertise that enables its customers to create superior products more efficiently. Companies from around the world turn to Wind River to create the most reliable products and to accelerate their time to market.

Founded in 1981, Wind River is headquartered in Alameda, California, with operations worldwide. To learn more, visit Wind River at or call Wind River at 1-800-872-4977.

Wind River Systems and the Wind River Systems logo are trademarks of Wind River Systems, Inc., and VxWorks is a registered trademark of Wind River Systems, Inc. All other names mentioned are trademarks, registered trademarks or service marks of their respective companies.

Contact Information
Jessica Miller
Global Corporate Communications