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Distributed, scalable and reliable onboard system software based on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) onboard computers (OBCs)



Organisational Unit
18 April 2023

Duration: 40 months


The commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware has drawn largely attention in satellite research and development area due to its high performance and low cost. Multiple COTS onboard computers (OBCs) within a satellite offer higher performance compared to single COTS OBC. COTS needs to improve system reliability due to space radiation environment. Work has been done to increase the reliability of COTS in space environment. In this emerging application field of COTS devices, a generic scalable mechanism of reliability and fault tolerance hasn’t been theoretically researched yet, i.e., the mathematical model of distributed OBCs is still missing. Meanwhile, traditional single-node onboard software is not designed to be scalable on multiple nodes, which cannot fulfill the demands of efficient development of COTS OBCs. Our idea is that with a new scalable mechanism which is certifiable and compatible with Space Avionics Open Interface aRchitecture (SAVOIR), the avionics system can be configured to be suitable and adaptive for OBCs from 1 node to multiple nodes for flexible addition of COTS OBCs in arbitrary phases, better software reusability and the reduction of development cost. Especially, as hardware market continuously advances, next-generation and more powerful heterogeneous COTS products can be smoothly integrated thanks to our architecture design and mechanism. To construct the generic scalable mechanism, we need to design the modularized reconfiguration and fault tolerance strategies, and to evaluate the available strategies in terms of variations of the number of OBCs. We will explore the reliability limit of the scalable OBCs’ system, which is vital for a satellite mission. We will deliver the system software with the fault tolerance and reconfiguration mechanism. The model-based system engineering (MBSE) model of reliability evaluation and performance evaluation will be delivered for further missions. Finally, we will show a demonstration of COTS OBCs.

Contract number
OSIP Idea Id
Related OSIP Campaign
Open Channel
Main application area
Generic for multiple space applications
Topical cluster
Distributed, scalable and reliable onboard system software based on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) onboard computers (OBCs)