ESA has flown a CubeSat with the company’s standardized “mind” that shall be used on all future European area missions. On June 26, the OPS-SAT area lab went into Earth orbit with a pc operating the European Floor System – Frequent Core (EGS-CC) software program that shall be widespread to all European area missions from 2025.
Within the early days of the Nineteen Sixties, every spacecraft, except it was a part of a collection with a excessive failure charge, was basically a one-off. This meant that area engineers have been basically reinventing the wheel when it comes to not solely the spacecraft itself, but additionally its avionics, computer systems, and the software program to regulate it. This resulted in loads of exceptional improvements, however the course of was additionally gradual, costly, rigid, and resulted in spacecraft that might solely be managed by one floor management system.
Since then, there’s been rather more of a push to create commonplace buses, commonplace elements, and usually discovering methods to assemble spacecraft with off-the-shelf components. This led to cheaper, extra versatile designs that may be developed in a extra well timed method.
Based mostly on years of growth by ESA, European nationwide area companies, and area industries, the EGS-CC is being examined utilizing a CubeSat in regards to the dimension of a loaf of bread to keep away from risking the brand new operational software program on a correct area mission. Throughout the current take a look at, the OPS-SAT obtained routine instructions and despatched again information to mission management on the ESOC Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.
The brand new software program shall be used throughout the board on missions starting from monitoring the Earth’s atmosphere to deep-space missions to operating constellations of satellites devoted to clearing area particles. The EGS-CC is not going to solely deal with standard spacecraft, but additionally future designs that incorporate synthetic intelligence.
The thought will not be solely to overtly present European operators with a standard core software program that may be simply tailor-made to particular spacecraft and missions, but additionally to permit for larger collaboration between the varied companies. Along with to the craft themselves, this additionally applies to regulate programs, which signifies that a mission may be operated by totally different companies, passing management from one to a different as wanted, leading to a “European Community of Facilities.”
This shall be significantly necessary for eradicating area particles, which can contain plenty of spacecraft supplied by totally different companies that might want to work collectively below unpredictable situations.
“At its coronary heart, this new software program marks an necessary step in bringing to life the area applied sciences of the longer term,” says Rolf Densing, Head of ESA’s ESOC Operations Centre. “Shut cooperation between area companies and trade has made this doable, opening up alternatives for all area entities in Europe to fly thrilling, progressive and necessary missions by area.”