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Satellite onboard Control Software and Models for Assessing its Reliability

Igor N. Kartsan, Svetlana V. Efremova


The aim of this paper is to determine the reliability of software used in electronics onboard satellites and other spacecraft in order to improve the accuracy of determining the Cartesian coordinates of an orbiting vehicle. It should be considered that the coordinates are determined in environments with significant electromagnetic interference and electromagnetic noise. Consequently, it is necessary to determine the most reliable software systems that can used in satellite hardware and ways for their further improvement. Recently, there have been a number of related studies, focused on the design of appropriate software evaluation models for space mission application. Thus, in this paper, we shall discuss a number of selected models for estimating the reliability of software systems used in space vehicles. Such reliability models as: analytical, dynamic, and static are discussed in the body of this paper. A complementary aim of this work, placed in the discussion section, is to conduct an analysis of existing software cost-estimating models in order to determine their performance characteristics. Non-algorithmic and algorithmic models are analyzed in the context of their application for space vehicle software systems. Special attention is paid to well-known Constructive Cost Model (COCOMO) and its further versions. The main disadvantage of the discussed software cost-estimating models was determined as the necessity to calibrate the models and the model’s inability to specify a more or less appropriate level of performance reliability. Finally, the authors suggest an approach for utilizing the reliability of function points and efforts required for its execution in large-scale complex software development projects.

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