Friday, February 3, 2017

General Update

This blog has been inactive for a while, but that's not because the Vermont Technical College CubeSat Laboratory has been inactive. In fact, we've been quite busy these past months ramping up on our next project. We are writing the flight software for Lunar IceCube, a collaboration between Morehead State University's Space Science Center, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Busek Inc., and ourselves.

The mission is a 6U CubeSat (nominally 10cm x 20cm x 30cm) that will orbit the moon and make infrared observations looking for water in all of its phases (and other volatile compounds). We will piggyback on the maiden launch of SLS, along with several other CubeSat missions, and be deployed as SLS heads beyond the moon.

We intend to use CubedOS for the Lunar IceCube mission, making this the first time CubedOS will be deployed in space. This also gives us the opportunity to refine and enhance our ideas about CubedOS in the context of solving real problems for a real mission. We have been gathering software requirements, writing necessary infrastructure, and setting up both software and hardware test harnesses. Last May we attended the Lunar IceCube Preliminary Design Review (PDR) at Goddard Space Flight Center. Last October we spent a week at Morehead State University meeting with our collaborators there. Also last October we gave a paper at the High Integrity Language Technologies Workshop in Pittsburgh, PA that described Lunar IceCube and outlined the architecture of our SPARK flight software. Last December we attended the Flight Software Workshop in Pasadena, CA. We recently submitted a paper to Ada Europe 2017 which, if accepted, will be CubedOS's official debut.

It is our plan to resume regular posts on this blog so that those in the community who are interested in our work can stay apprised of our status. We'll be very busy in the coming months implementing the IceCube flight software, and we are sure there will be many issues that will arise during that effort that we can post about here.