EGSE, Testing & Simulation

The development of space instrumentation is accompanied by electronic equipment, tools and software, all of which are specifically developed or tailored to the instrument. This so-called Electronic Ground Support Equipment (EGSE) plays an important role in the development process and in the various test campaigns. Similar to our flight software approach, we develop our own tools and this allows us to use the newest technologies at the maximum flexibility.

  • Central Checkout System

We have developed a CCS based on Python, GTK3, SQL and automated testing, which greatly facilitates the flight software development process. Test scripts are written in Python and can be commanded interactively step by step or in a fully automated way. The main feature of our CCS is the real-time monitoring of the TM/TC from multiple sources. The interfaces to the flight components, such as SpaceWire or Milbus, are provided through sockets. That makes it possible to flexibly switch between simulators and actual hardware units. Our CCS incorporates Vast quick-look analysis capabilities and since it is entirely written in Python, it is extremely user-extensible. The CCS is so powerful, that it can actually be used for in-orbit commissioning.

  • Simulation of On-Board Units

We have developed a portfolio of simulators, which allow us to emulate functional units involved in the on-board data stream and connect them either to others or to actual hardware interfaces using I/F Routers. Basically, we can simulate a complete payload instrument and we are making great use of these capabilities during flight software development.

  • I/F Routers

For the hardware interfaces which are typically used in space, such as SpaceWire or Milbus, we use routing interfaces on ground. This approach allows us maximum flexibility in connecting simulators with actual hardware units. It's also key in enabling remote testing of the hardware.