For many people, it is hard to imagine a world without software. It has become so integral to our lives that we often take the processes and functions that happen for granted. In space, where there are no computers as we know them back on earth, reliable space software becomes an even more important commodity. However, what makes this type of software dependable?

To understand how reliability in spacecraft engineering can be achieved using space-based applications, one must first consider what causes unreliability in traditional computing systems. Software failures are usually caused by errors in the code or bugs which cause unexpected results when executed. Unfortunately, these types of errors are not always detectable before deployment and once they have been deployed into mission operations are very expensive.

Dependability of space computer systems

In today’s world, space software is ubiquitous. It is used in everything from GPS systems to weather forecasting to data processing for scientific research. How space software makes our lives better and more efficient by highlighting a few things that make it dependable:

  1. Space software can be created with the use of formal methods;
  2. Space software has been mathematically proven to be fault-tolerant;
  3. Space software can be designed with modularity in mind, which means that errors will only affect one module when there are errors. These three pillars of dependability when designing and creating space software provide us with a much higher quality product than we would otherwise have access to.

Space software is a critical component of any space mission. Whether we’re talking about satellites that provide telecommunications, or spacecraft for exploration and research, space software must be dependable to ensure the mission’s success. There are many ways to make the software more reliable in space: from good coding practices like testing and documentation; to following best practices such as separation of concerns; to using tools like CodeSonar’s static analysis tool, which can help find and fix defects earlier in the development cycle than with traditional testing approaches.

space computer systems

Space flight software resilience

Space missions are extremely complicated operations that require the use of cutting-edge technology. A crucial component of these complex missions in space software controls spacecraft, commands astronauts, and performs other important functions for space exploration. Moreover, this software has to be reliable because it can affect critical systems onboard a spacecraft which could endanger human life if something goes wrong.

In the aerospace industry, it’s crucial to have dependable software that can handle a wide range of situations. Space programs rely on software for everything from basic tasks like commanding and monitoring the spacecraft to more complex ones such as planning trajectories, controlling temperature and fuel usage, and even determining how much power each subsystem should get. The ability of code to do these things is called dependability. Dependability requirements are incredibly important in space applications because there is no way to update or fix a program once it has been launched into orbit.