Title of Paper: FlightLinux Project

Principal Author: Mr. Patrick Stakem

Abstract: The FlightLinux project has the stated goal of providing an on-orbit flight demonstration of the Linux software. This will result in a TRL level of 7. The FlightLinux proof-of-concept demonstration is being done in conjunction with the on-orbit UoSat-12 mission, from Surrey Space Technology, Ltd. under an MOU. The OMNI project of Code 588 at GSFC has procured a breadboard of the Surrey OBC, that is being used for testing. In addition, telecommunications facilities on Building 23 at GSFC allow communication with the UoSat-12 spacecraft.

This project is being conducted in partnership with NASA/GSFC codes 586 (Science Data Systems, 582 (Flight Software), and 588 (Advanced Architecture & Automation) by personnel of the QSS Group, Inc.

Because almost all of the effort in developing onboard computers for spacecraft seems to involve adapting existing commercial designs, the logical next step is to adapt COTS software, such as the Linux operating system. Given Linux, many avenues and opportunities become available. Web serving and file transfer become standard features. Onboard LAN and an onboard file system become "givens." Java is trivial to implement. Commonality with ground environments allows rapid migration of algorithms to the flight system, and tapping into the world-wide expertise of Linux developments provide a large pool of talent. Full source for the operating system and drivers is available without cost.

Since we posted our goals of keeping the FlightLinux open source, within the meaning of the GNU license, we have had numerous offers of collaboration on the project. These include representatives of US and European aerospace companies, and individuals. The interest in the FlightLinux Project is growing, due to increasing exposure of the website.

For further information, see the project website at: http://FlightLinux.gsfc.nasa.gov