Santa Maria, CA (October 29, 2013) - Quintron Systems announced that it will provide the technology upgrade at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC) to expand to IP-based mission command voice. This decision follows successful support at DFRC for over twenty years by earlier versions of the Quintron DICES product line.

A major advancement incorporated with this new IP-based system rollout at DFRC is the innovative new user station design. This station will allow direct-fit replacement of the existing, older DICES stations in use for many years to prevent expensive and difficult reconfiguration of the mission control room consoles. In addition, the use of three touch screen panels will provide significant upgrades to user features inherent in the DICES VoIP system architecture while inclusion of appropriate circuitry and connectors will also allow DFRC to re-use the existing high-investment legacy headsets. 

In addition to this new user station style expressly suited for the main DFRC control rooms, the DICES VoIP Soft Client will allow flight test customers to access selected mission audio over IP links using customer-supplied computer work stations, in some cases installed in remote operating locations. This flexibility will provide a simpler and yet more enhanced operating environment for DFRC mission controllers and customers.

Another important new feature will be the ability to pre-define selected user station position configurations (audio circuits, key layouts, and optional features) and simply download these directly to the user positions without log-in or other user interaction. This provides for greater centralized management that is important to mixed-community missions typical for DFRC and also provides improved ability to support quick turnaround for mission changeovers. 

Besides the new features mentioned above, all the previous key DICES capabilities are maintained, such as full stereo audio for the user headsets with integrated push-to-talk and full radio keying. In addition, DICES VoIP supports multiple independent operating segments (partitions) so each of the four main DFRC control rooms can be managed individually with complete autonomy where simultaneous missions are underway.

“Quintron has a long-standing and very successful partnership with Dryden, going back to actual hands-on site technical support starting in 1981 and with initial installation of a DICES system in 1990,” said David Wilhite, president and chief operating officer at Quintron, “so this selection to move their voice system into the 21st century with DICES VoIP was a welcome announcement. We look forward to continuing our teamwork for many more years to come.”

The system architecture for the DFRC site will follow similar installations at White Sands Missile Range and four United Launch Alliance facilities. Two independent main central servers will support the four DFRC mission control rooms. Database replication services will maintain common information between the two servers so either can assume the role of the other should the very unlikely loss of the high-availability servers occur. 

The total initial procurement will provide for about 100 of the new user stations with more phased additions planned in future fiscal periods as funding becomes available. First use of the new DICES VoIP system in operational mode is planned for spring 2014 following required parallel testing to ensure total system operational reliability.

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