According to, Linux was selected for a NASA experiment aimed at proving the feasibility of COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) hardware and software for scientific space missions. A key requirement was for application development and runtime environments familiar to scientists, to facilitate porting applications from the lab to the spacecraft.

NASA’s “Dependable Multiprocessor” (DM) experiment is among four scientific payloads scheduled for launch in November of 2009, in the “New Millennium Program Space Technology 8 (ST8) mission. Honeywell Aerospace was chosen to be the lead contractor for the DM experiment, while Orbital Sciences was selected to build ST8’s “Spacecraft bus.”

In order to attain success, Honeywell will have to overcome several obstacles — primarily through enhancements to Linux via custom high-availability middleware, it appears.

Embedded Linux vendor Wind River says it was selected to “support the development of NASA’s New Millennium Program Space Technology 8 (ST8) Dependable Multiprocessor.” As part of its role in supporting the project, the company will supply its Platform for Network Equipment, Linux Edition (PNE-LE) for use on the DM system.

Wind River said that as a whole, the DM system’s Linux-based software would enable the ST8 to “process and analyze its own data to make instant decisions about what is observed without having to send the information to Earth and wait for a reply.” The environment will also be able to dynamically adjust the level of fault tolerance for various subsystems, according to their criticality, the software vendor said.

Hope Linux passes this test!


3 Responses to NASA Tests Linux For Spacecraft Control

  1. name says:

    Interesting news! Linux rocks!
    Go Linux!

  2. Admin says:

    Yes, Linux user base is growing, even at the desktop level.

  3. nagraj says:

    i am not getting this what it is exactly….

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