STIX Flight Software Verification and Development

Ateleris supported the STIX core team at the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland to test, verify, and update the STIX flight software. The flight software is an embedded software written in C and running on the real-time operating system RTEMS.

The Spectrometer Telescope for Imaging X-rays (STIX) is one of ten instruments on board 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 provided the STIX core team with their flight software and embedded software development expertise, focusing on testing, verifying, and updating the core software and the onboard analysis algorithms. The STIX core team and Ateleris worked closely together on an essential upgrade of the core flight software system.

The main tasks included:

  • Developing and executing software verification tests on the core flight software system and components, hardware drivers, and onboard science algorithms.
  • Analyzing the results from the verification tests and proposing and implementing mitigation strategies when needed.
  • Evaluating and improving flight software functionality and reliability in general.
  • Developing ground-analysis software tools to support scientific data analysis.

Key Technologies/Terms

  • Embedded programming in C/C++/Assembler
  • Real-Time Executive for Multiprocessor Systems (RTEMS)
  • Gaisler Leon3 Processor
  • Electronic Ground Equipment (EGSE) testing
  • Flight software development and verification of a space telescope
  • 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.

“We had a goal-oriented, no-fuss collaboration with Ateleris, and their software made it possible to exploit our instrument's full capabilities fully.”
“With Flight Software and In-Orbit verification support, Ateleris made vital contributions to ensure the success of the STIX Instrument, very flexible, and target focused collaboration.”
Nicky Hochmuth

Nicky Hochmuth

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