Spanish satellite engineers choose AdaCore development environment for satellite control software

BRISTOL, United Kingdom, 24 Oct. 2014. Oficials at the Polytechnic University of Madrid (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid / UPM) have selected AdaCore’s GNAT Pro cross-development environment for the UPMSat-2 UNION satellite project’s real-time, on-board and ground-control software. The 50-kilogram micro-satellite, scheduled to be launched in Q4 2015, will provide a technology demonstration platform for the university from a sun-synchronous orbit nearly 600 kilometers above Earth.

Spanish satellite engineers choose AdaCore development environment for satellite control software
Spanish satellite engineers choose AdaCore development environment for satellite control software

BRISTOL, United Kingdom, 24 Oct. 2014. Oficials at the Polytechnic University of Madrid (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid / UPM) have selected AdaCore’s GNAT Pro cross-development environment for the UPMSat-2 UNION satellite project’s real-time, on-board and ground-control software. The 50-kilogram micro-satellite, scheduled to be launched in Q4 2015, will provide a technology demonstration platform for the university from a sun-synchronous orbit nearly 600 kilometers above Earth.

"Controlling a satellite’s operation requires software that meets the highest levels of reliability and integrity,” says Professor Juan Antonio de la Puente, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. “Ada was the obvious choice, and the combination of GNAT Pro and model-based code generation has proved to be a very fast way of developing reliable software for this project. UPMSat-2 provides the perfect platform for our students to develop their skills, and for STRAST to demonstrate its capabilities in real-time embedded systems to potential commercial partners.”

Spanish satellite engineers choose AdaCore development environment for satellite control softwareSpanish satellite engineers choose AdaCore development environment for satellite control software

The software component of the project is being led by UPM’s Real-Time Systems and Telematic Services Engineering Research Group (Grupo de Sistemas de Tiempo Real e Ingeniería de Servicios Telemáticos/ STRAST), with coding and testing scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014. The development environment is GNAT Pro for 32-bit Linux, targeted to the LEON3 processor.

UPM STRAST selected Ada for its combination of high reliability, speed of development, and ease of verification and validation. The team has extensive experience using Ada on previous high-integrity embedded system projects, and has collaborated with AdaCore on a number of these.

The STRAST team is using the GNAT technology to program the control software of the satellite’s on-board LEON3 processor, which is expected to reach 20,000 lines of code. UPM STRAST is using its own Open Ravenscar Real-Time Kernel (ORK), along with the Ada code generator from the TASTE toolset (The ASSERT Set of Tools for Engineering). AdaCore verification and validation tools will be used to ensure code integrity, using an approach based on the ECCS-ST-E40 standard.

The UPMSat-2 hardware platform’s on-board computer is an ACTEL FPGA board developed by TECNOBIT, with UPM responsible for synthesizing the System on Chip (SOC) from the Gaisler GRLIB IP Library for LEON3 processors.

“We have collaborated with the team at UPM STRAST for 20 years across a number of projects,” says AdaCore Managing Director Cyrille Comar. “This ambitious satellite project demonstrates all the advantages of Ada as a language, requiring reliable, real-time software that will need to operate in the toughest conditions. We look forward to the successful completion of the satellite and its launch in 2015.”

Founded in 1994, AdaCore is a provider of commercial software solutions for Ada, a state-of-the-art programming language designed for large, long-lived applications where safety, security, and reliability are critical. AdaCore's flagship product is the open source GNAT Pro development environment, which comes with expert on-line support and is available on more platforms than any other Ada technology.

Ada and GNAT Pro see a growing usage in high-integrity and safety-certified applications, including space-based systems, commercial aircraft avionics, military systems, air traffic management/control, rail systems, and medical devices, and in security-sensitive domains, such as financial services. The SPARK Pro toolset, available from AdaCore, is especially useful in such contexts.

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) is the oldest and largest of the Spanish Technical Universities. UPM currently has more than 3000 faculty members, around 38,000 undergraduate students, and around 6,000 postgraduate students. UPM’s schools cover most engineering disciplines, including aeronautical, agronomical, chemical, civil, electrical, electronic, forestry, industrial, mechanical, mining, nuclear, and naval engineering, as well as architecture, computer science, and geodesy & cartography.

The Real-Time Systems and Telematic Services Engineering Research Group (STRAST) is focused on research and teaching in the area of real-time and high-integrity systems, as well as new generation telematics services on mobile devices.

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