STIX FSW Maintenance and Data Processing

STIX Flight Software Maintenance & Data Processing

Ateleris provides maintenance support to the STIX Flight Software during the nominal mission phase and helps build the automated ground-based data processing and archiving pipeline in Python.

The Spectrometer Telescope for Imaging X-rays (STIX) is one of ten instruments onboard Solar Orbiter, the European Space Agency ESA’s latest solar science mission. The mission was also supported by the American National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA. Solar Orbiter was successfully launched in February 2020 and commissioned in Space in Spring/Summer 2020.

STIX is a space telescope developed and built by the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland FHNW in a national and international collaboration with private and public partners. Ateleris has been involved in the STIX project since 2018 and helped develop and verify the STIX Flight Software.

In late 2020, Ateleris received additional funding to support the STIX core team at FHNW during the STIX operational phase (science phase). Within this contract, Ateleris supports the STIX Flight Software maintenance efforts and helps design, build and test the ground-based automatic data processing and archiving pipeline.

The Python package STIXCore contains several modules to read raw telemetry and produce several processing data levels, such as level binary (raw binary telemetry data), level 0 (unpacked data), level 1 (semi-calibrated data), and level 2 (calibrated data, science data). In addition, all output data files are packaged as Flexible Image Transport System FITS files.

The pipeline automatically detects newly delivered files at the ESA Mission Operation Control MOC central server and starts the telemetry processing. The STIX processing service generates housekeeping and so-called quicklook data so the operations team can observe the instrument health and the science community can monitor the Sun’s activity. At the same time, this process generates bulk science data, i.e., images and spectra, for research and publications.

You can browse the data at the STIX data center.

Key Technologies/Terms

  • Python-based automated pipeline processing
  • Telemetry data parsing and extraction
  • Scientific data processing, reconstruction, and analysis
  • Embedded programming in C/C++/Assembler
  • Real-Time Executive for Multiprocessor Systems (RTEMS)
  • Gaisler Leon3 Processor
  • Space Application
University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland

The University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland is the PI Institution for the STIX instrument.

ESA Logo

ESA is the European Space Agency and the primary lead for the Solar Orbiter Mission.

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Nicky Hochmuth

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