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Comparing the FSDK with Open Source Spacecraft Flight Software Frameworks

In looking for solutions to help you develop spacecraft software, there are a variety of options open to you. Some, like the Flight Software Development Kit (FSDK), are commercially licensed, while others are released under open source licences. All seek to solve real problems in space systems.

We have designed the FSDK to not only provide solid engineering solutions, but to also provide dramatic mission-level benefits. Consider how these benefits could contribute to the success of your mission:

Short startup time

Getting software engineers up to speed with new tools takes time, but the FSDK architecture allows teams to focus only on the areas they need to. The FSDK is component-based with hundreds of software components available out of the box, giving engineers the space to concentrate on the new functionality your mission needs.

This means that you can quickly cover all the basic and standard functionality for your mission (e.g. data acquisition, monitoring, logging, FDIR, TM/TC, etc. ) and focus on what makes it unique such as payload interfacing and managing, telemetry handling, communication protocols and your concept of operations.

Simple reuse

The FSDK allows software components written for one mission to be easily reused on another, even if the spacecraft hardware is different – even if the onboard computer the software needs to run on has changed!

Components can often be combined in new ways to achieve new functionality, avoiding the need to start again from the ground up.

Built-in scalability

The FSDK inherently builds in the ability for different elements of the space system to talk to each other. To access functionality on one spacecraft from another, all that is required is a communications link between the two and the relevant easily configured software components. This allows complex networks of assets to be built with little development overhead.

As you space system grows and develops, you may find beneficial to keep your architecture open to new hardware in order to avoid vendor lock-in. The FSDK allows individual modules to be quickly and easily substituted according to your requirements – whether you are adding new capability to a new satellite in your space system or simply trying to save cost by opting for a more cost-effective vendor.

Operations integration

While not required, the FSDK excels when used with our ground software products. When the FSDK flight software is built a “spacecraft database” is generated – this allows the ground software to understand how to interact with the flight software with almost zero manual configuration.

Operations procedures can be written, tested and iterated upon while the flight software is still in development, reducing development risk.

Save cost

It is easy to choose an open-source solution based on purchase cost only. But it is crucial to think beyond the purchase point and take into account all the expenses and risks through to the final qualified ready-for-flight version.

The FSDK can save considerable cost through faster and more efficient development process, lower risk, simpler and quicker onboarding process to get you started and straightforward scalability options as you forward.

With many hidden elements and overheads, only choosing a well-structured, well tried and tested development environment will give you the lowest development cost and shortest development time of all.

Support and advice

The FSDK is developed by a passionate team who are keen to share the fruits of our labour with our customers. We always seek to help you get the most out of the FSDK. We provide training sessions tailored to your needs and online support via our ticketing system.

We are also happy to discuss the architecture and design of your mission, drawing on our experience across the space industry. Understanding your mission needs ensures we can keep the FSDK developing in the right direction for our customers.

We believe an FSDK licence represents real value for money in comparison to a variety of competitors, be they open source solutions or other commercial offerings.

Sign up for a trial licence and see for yourself!