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Re: IPS and Amateur Satellite Software



At 13:22 04/03/2001 -0500, Timothy J. Salo wrote:
>The use of a widely known
>language with readily available development platforms increases the pool
>of potential software developers.  It probably also increases the quality
>of the software, in the sense that software idioms are probably more
>fully developed for a common language.  The widespread availability of the
>source code for satellite software increases the chances of good code
>reviews and the reuse of proven software.

You might be interested in some of NASA's current projects in this area.
I am involved in the 'Operating Missions as Nodes on the Internet' (OMNI)
project. We are developing a migration path away from the custom protocols 
that NASA has used on it's space-to-ground links for the past 20 years
toward the use of a standard IP protocol stack and commercially supported
physical and link layer protocols. See
http://ipinspace.gsfc.nasa.gov

Another project closely related to us is the flight linux project. They
are experimenting with various embedded and real-time linux kernels for
use in spacecraft computers. The objective being to move away from the 
very expensive and proprietary realtime OS's that are currently in use.
See:
http://flightlinux.gsfc.nasa.gov 

>[In hopes of avoiding the first 50 e-mails about the importance of
>closed source to security let me state that I believe that any on-board
>satellite software written today that has security that is dependent upon
>protecting the source code is fundamentally flawed.  Obviously,
>cryptographic keys need to be protected, but not source code.]

Since security is the first question that arises when you suggest 
connecting someones spacecraft to an IP network we have also
established an IP-in-Space secrity team who's job it is to produce 
a set of guidelines and suggested solutions for the use of IP on
space to ground links.

Ron wa4sir


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