Flight Software

The main difference between embedded software in general and flight software is the ESA ECSS standard. We develop software for category B (critical systems) and C (payload application) according to the standard.

  • On-Board Data Processing

Our core competence is the scientific data processing, especially when it comes to the compression of science data. Virtually every instrument produces much more raw data than what can be sent to ground. With our data processing chain an instrument is able to transfer its data in a highly optimized way, typically increasing the efficiency to 300 percent with lossless steps, or orders of magnitude with additional lossy steps.

  • Software Framework

The flight software standard demands that all communication is formulated in the fashion of services with command and report pairs. The backbone of this services-oriented part is usually handled by a software framework, such as CORDET. We have become a close partner of P&P Software GmbH of Switzerland, sharing the work for the further development through common projects. 

  • Operating System Services and Drivers

Digital electronics in ESA projects are mainly based on the LEON processor, a SPARC8-based family of system on chips. We have developed a lightweight but powerful operating system for LEON-based CPUs. The "LeanOS", as we named it, is the consequence of almost two decades of lessons learned when dealing with flight components. Its main target platform is the SSDP, ESA's next-generation processing platform developed by RECORE, but it can be used on any LEON-based system.

Common interfaces in flight hardware are SpaceWire and Milbus. We have developed open-source drivers of these for GRLIP IP cores.

  • Science and engineering algorithms

A wide range of algorithms has been developed in the course of our projects and they are available as open-source software. Many of them deal with the processing of science data, but other tasks, such as highly precise centroid measurements for guiding, pattern recognition of orientation, thermal control, etc. are available.