What benefits does the Software and Simulation Laboratory deliver?
The Laboratory provides an independent software analysis and validation service to all ESA programmes. It guides projects in the selection of the highest-performance, robust and mature software technologies available, having access to advanced tools for software engineering and testing. Some examples are:
- modelling of software specifications (e.g. Fault Detection Isolation and Recovery and Mission and Vehicle Management functions)
- evaluation of software architecture and operational performance
- AIT database validation support
- independent software verification & validation
It also develops products for a number of ESA operational facilities. These include a mission simulator for the Concurrent Design Facility, used for rapid design and evaluation of new missions, and the deployment of experiment planning and simulation tools at the Planetary Science Operations Centre, employed to assess operations of planetary probes. Current missions include Rosetta, Venus and Mars Express, with Bepi Colombo in the preparatory stages.
The Laboratory is responsible for compiling and updating a complete 3D model of ISS, modified in line with the orbital outpost's actual growth, accessed by ISS users in the Virtual Reality Theatre of the Erasmus User Centre in ESTEC.
The Laboratory additionally hosts and maintains some project specific facilities, e.g. Software Validation Facilities, global navigation satellite system simulator, Mission Database including flight data etc.. It also records and defines EGSE procedures for missions including navigation and the launcher programmes.
Another benefit it delivers is software development and validation environments for the LEON-2 FT microprocessor, which is at the heart of all new ESA hardware being designed for space, as well as follow-on microprocessor systems.
The lab also contributes to the validation of European software standards established through the European Cooperation for Space Standardization (ECSS). Other work with outside partners includes verification of the European Commission's ASSERT (Automated proof-based System and Software Engineering for Real-Time applications), seeking to define more reliable software production techniques.
Perhaps the most ambitious goal f the Laboratory is the demonstration and validation of new avionics technologies. This is attempted in a collaborative fashion together with the Data and Control systems Laboratories, and is based on the End-to-end Avionics Test Bench, installed in the joint Avionics Systems Laboratory. Prototypes generated in the frame of ESA’s R&D programmes, notable TRP and GSTP, can be integrated in the test bench and their qualities demonstrated in an end-to-end avionics context. Examples are
- mass memory technology
- Onboard Control procedures
- Software architectures
- Avionics standard interfaces and associated building blocks
Last update: 4 September 2013