What innovations does Software Systems involve?

Xception™ selected by JPL for REE supercomputing project

Automatic code generation from a computer model of the software design, rather than manual coding is becoming the state-of-the art for boosting software productivity and reducing human error.

Assigning greater responsibility to onboard software does put an onus on improving the reliability of verification and validation (V&V) procedures of mission- and safety-critical software throughout the development process. Methods are being improved for guaranteeing software reliability.

Software also plays a key role in modelling and simulation tools to improve the mission specification, definition and verification process. Particular areas of innovation include interactive 3D graphics and real-time simulation. Simulations can also be employed to test real flight hardware in closed loop, i.e. where the effect of the actions triggered by the flight software is simulated and fed back, and to train astronauts to carry out their mission.

As a related activity, advanced man-machine interface devices and usability engineering are a continued area of research in terms of manned spaceflight as well as the ground-based fields of electrical ground support equipment (EGSE) and assembly, integration and testing (AIT) of spacecraft – where the efficient interaction of people with computer systems is a crucial consideration.

Standardisation of software architectures is key to maximize reuse of software building blocks thereby increasing reliability and efficiency in the development of new onboard avionics.

Last update: 20 September 2009

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