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Center Independent Research & Development: GSFC IRAD

Core Flight Executive Software Radiation Mitigation Study

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The reliability of SmallSat / CubeSat missions may be increased by using software radiation mitigation for single event upsets (SEUs). Implementing protection in software results in a lower level of tolerance than traditional hardware techniques, but hardware costs and power requirements are kept to a minimum by taking advantage of nonredundant commodity hardware. This work will extend NASA’s Core Flight Executive (cFE) to provide software based protection and evaluate the results so that informed decisions can be made about such trade-offs.

The project objectives are to answer the following questions about software radiation mitigation techniques applied to NASA’s Core Flight Executive (cFE):
· How much can the occurrence of failures due to SEUs be reduced?
· What were the costs in terms of processor overhead?
· What are the impacts on normal cFE application development?
To answer these questions, this project will incorporate software radiation mitigation into cFE for an example CubeSat application. The primary protection mechanism investigated will be scalable modular redundancy of software components (applications). Scalable modular redundancy will be non-intrusive for cFE application developers and allow the level of redundancy to be adjusted as needed. Other techniques, such as source level approaches, may be employed for cFE itself if testing reveals potential reliability gains.

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