Goddard’s Core Flight software chosen for NASA’s Lunar Gateway

Goddard’s Core Flight software chosen for NASA’s Lunar Gateway
This illustration exhibits the Gateway lunar platform orbiting the Moon. Credit score: NASA

NASA is bettering a flight software program system to assist create and certify important software program for the lunar Gateway.


As a part of the Artemis program, NASA will ship astronauts to the Moon and set up a sustained lunar presence by the top of the last decade. The Gateway will present a waypoint for lunar exploration and permit astronauts to dwell and work in lunar orbit in addition to host science devices and experiments.

Whereas Gateway is not going to be repeatedly inhabited just like the Worldwide Area Station, each system onboard have to be at a excessive customary that ensures astronaut security. Class A certification assures that every one of Gateway’s techniques meet these rigorous necessities.

NASA, business companions, and worldwide area businesses are working collectively to develop Gateway. Goddard Area Flight Heart in Greenbelt, Maryland, is collaborating with NASA’s Johnson Area Heart in Houston to Class A certify the core Flight System (cFS).

The cFS can be important to Gateway’s day-to-day operations, and gives the inspiration for Gateway software program, together with the Car System Supervisor, which manages spacecraft devices and techniques whereas sustaining core features.

Gateway’s software program builds on cFS’s dynamic improvement surroundings and component-based, adaptable design. Its versatile, layered structure permits engineers to quickly assemble important parts of a software program system for brand new missions. This ends in price and time financial savings, as mission groups can keep away from growing model new software program for every mission.

Conceived in 2004, the open-sourced cFS software program has been improved each internally and thru suggestions from unbiased builders around the globe. “We’re engaged on making it simpler to check, simpler to hint necessities from mission purposes, and straightforward to adapt,” stated Jacob Hageman, crew lead for the continued certification effort for Gateway’s cFS. “The Artemis program gives assets to assist us enhance the product, which advantages everybody who makes use of it.”

Goddard builders envisioned an unbiased, reusable software program framework for routine spacecraft duties, together with telemetry, well being and security, and saved commanding. In 2008, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter launched, working on the core Flight Government—a plug-and-play basis for what would develop into cFS.

Goddard flight software program architect Jonathan Wilmot has labored on cFS from its starting, when the concept was born out of a necessity for effectivity. “We had two huge missions at Goddard at one time, the Photo voltaic Dynamics Observatory and the World Precipitation Measurement,” he stated. “There wasn’t sufficient workers to do each independently, so we labored with Goddard’s software program and mission groups to determine a set of necessities.”

This skilled crew outlined the software program framework and utility suite that was frequent to NASA missions in order that future missions would simply have so as to add their -unique features. Since then, NASA has employed cFS on missions just like the Lunar Environment and Mud Surroundings Explorer, the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission, Orion’s Ascent Abort—2 Flight Check, and extra.

In July 2020, cFS was named NASA’s Software program of the 12 months for its mixture of “app retailer” supply of options, stability, and flexibility. “One of many nice issues about cFS is that it is at all times evolving,” stated Hageman. “We work on perhaps two or three missions a yr, however outdoors of NASA, persons are attempting it out, discovering new methods to make use of it and making ideas for enchancment.”

Presently, the Goddard software program improvement crew is certifying the cFS by testing it to make sure it meets the necessities set forth by the company for Gateway. After testing at Goddard, it is going to be delivered to Johnson for extra testing, doable modifications for Gateway-specific options, ultimate implementation, and human ranking certifications.

The primary parts of the Gateway are anticipated to launch collectively in 2024 and can permit NASA better entry to the lunar floor. The Class A-certified flight for Gateway will guarantee all techniques function correctly and that NASA’s astronauts have a protected surroundings to dwell and work.


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Goddard’s Core Flight software program chosen for NASA’s Lunar Gateway (2021, February 12)
retrieved 13 February 2021
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