Skip Navigation
Advanced Exploration Systems Division

Avionics and Software Project (A&S)

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

Project Importance:

  • Avionics and Software (A&S) are the foundation that enables the command, control, communications, and computing (C4) capabilities needed to operate a spacecraft and subsystems

Project Goal:

  • Define, implement and exercise an avionics and software architecture that is open-source, highly reliable with fault tolerance, and utilizes standard capabilities and interfaces, which are scalable and customizable to support future exploration missions
  • Infuse resultant technologies, standards, and architectures into new and existing human spaceflight programs

Key Project Drivers:

  • Increased Affordability through Technology Transparency and Reuse
    • Advance open technologies and standards
    • Enable competition and diversity in avionics hardware solutions
      • The underlying hardware should not have any impact on an application either during development or execution
    • Develop reusable software and tools with broad program applicability 
  • Reliability and Maintenance
    • Operate in the presence of failures so that Maintenance Free Operating Periods (MFOPS) can be achieved
    • Provide capabilities that enable autonomous operations 
    • Minimize unique sparing
  • Incremental Update & Certification - Designed for Growth and Change
    • Applications can be inserted/altered with minimum impact on other systems and on the supporting safety case
    • Flexible scheduling to meet the deadlines of all the applications for each viable configuration and when system is upgraded

Project Focus Areas and Objectives:

  • Command & Data Handling (C&DH) - Define a reliable, high-performance & modular C&DH architecture and build HW catalog
  • Software - Provide a reusable software architecture and tools suitable for human-rated missions
  • Human Interfaces - Identify, integrate & test human interface technologies that are scalable, sustainable, and evolvable to support future exploration
  • Communication and Wireless Systems - Enable interoperable, wireless & networked communication for inter/intra-vehicle systems
  • Systems Engineering and Integration (SE&I) - Model, build & test flexible and robust integrated vehicle systems

Project Activities:

  • Partner with Orion to develop and deliver a Core Flight Software (cFS) based Backup Flight Software (BFS) system for the Artemis missions. BFS is a dissimilar flight software system on Orion that mitigates against a common-cause primary computer failure to reduce the probability of Loss of Crew. This partnership advances cFS capabilities and tools that are broadly applicable spaceflight and delivers modular, re-usable spacecraft algorithms for GN&C and systems control.
  • Enable early integrated avionics and software validation and testing activities between Artemis mission elements (Orion, Gateway, HLS, etc.) and Orion Display & Control hardware software integration and human in the loop testing by enhancing and improving SOCRRATES (Software Only CEV Risk Reduction Analysis and Test Engineering Simulation) interfaces.
  • Provide stewardship, development, and maintenance of the open Core Flight Software and Tabella Web Based Graphical User Interface product lines.
  • Complete Interoperability testing and finalize the Comm and Wireless Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) Proximity Wireless Network Technology Blue Book.
  • Leverage years of hands on expertise in fault-tolerant triplex-voting, Distributed Integrated Modular Avionics (DIMA), NASA's Core Flight Software (CFS), and Time-Triggered Ethernet (TTE) to enable Artemis success.
More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

Share this Project

Organizational Responsibility

Project Management

Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

Technology Areas

Target Destinations

Supported Mission Type

Light bulb

Suggest an Edit

Recommend changes and additions to this project record.
^