Airbus Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space wins Critical Embedded Software Trophy

The French organisation Syntech Informatique, its German counterpart BITKOM and the Club des Grandes Entreprises de l’Embarqué have held the first “Franco-German Embedded Applications Conference” at the Ministry of Finance, Industry and Employment in Paris. The event was also supported by the Direction Générale des Entrprises and CAPTRONIC.

During the conference prizes were awarded for projects which feature the development and implementation of embedded software systems with a high degree of innovation.

There were four candidates for the Critical Embedded Software Trophy - Airbus, Thales, SYSGO and Airbus Defence and Space. The jury, composed of representatives form the scientific and industrial IT communities, awarded the prize to Airbus Defence and Space for the Flight Applicative Software (FAS) and the Monitoring and Safing Unit (MSU) developed for the ATV.

The FAS has ensured that the Jules Verne mission has performed perfectly over the past four months. It is responsible for numerous functions throughout the various mission phases, notably flight control (including rendez-vous with the ISS), ATV management and monitoring, thermal control, power management, ground liaison, correction of the ISS’ orbit, and fuel transfer from the ATV to the ISS. Finally, it will control the ATV de-docking at the end of the mission period. The FAS has around one million lines of code and data. Its applicative part was designed and developed at Airbus Defence and Space’s Les Mureaux site and the ‘middleware’ at Airbus Defence and Space’s Toulouse site. It is operated on a triplex Fault Tolerant Computer designed and developed at Airbus Defence and Space’s Bremen site.

The MSU, rather more modest in terms of lines of code (30,000), performs an equally fundamental role, that of ensuring the security of the ISS in the event of FAS failure or equipment malfunction or breakdown by enabling the ATV to execute an ISS-avoidance manoeuvre. The MSU is the first class A software (the highest class of ESA standards for embedded software) so far developed by the European space industry. While it was not pressed into service during the ATV’s rendez-vous with the ISS on 3 April nor during the demonstration manoeuvres of the following days, since these mission phases all went exactly to programme, it had already proved its operational capability on 14 March with the collision avoidance manoeuvre demonstration operations, a vital precursor for final rendez-vous authorisation (‘GO for docking’).