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The real price of onboard software

What you buy in the Space software is not the software itself. You are buying assurance that once you fire it up to orbit, it will work.

Slavo Petrik   -   July 5th, 2023

space software

What is the difference between the software for your washing machine and the software for a space probe?

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

What is the difference between the software for your washing machine and the software for a space probe?

Well, let me rephrase…

If your washing machine software fails, what is the worst consequence? What will happen?

Not much.

If the software in your TV fails and it will reboot, what does it mean for you?

Not much.

[Nothing against a good fridge or TV software. Re-calling goods from the market due to faulty software may also have serious consequences.]

If the satellite doesn’t call back from orbit or it performs the wrong operation, it leads to mission loss. What is the consequence?

Months of lost work, crushed dreams, and the next opportunity to participate in a space mission may come in 5 years.

There is definitely a difference between selling space-grade software vs. selling embedded software for your fridge or room thermostat. The difference in consequences of failure is about as big as a commuter bike is to a Harley Davidson.

What you buy in the Space software is not the software itself. You are buying assurance that once you fire it up to orbit, it will work. Many companies can create embedded software. Very few companies can sell you the assurance that your mission will succeed.


Slavo

contact@12gfs.com