On-Board Computer

Lead: Nicholas Wolf

On-Board Computer

The special field of application of a satellite places high demands on reliability while at the same time limiting system resources. To take these factors into account, we work closely with other subsections and develop prototypes to validate our assumptions. Our subsection develops central software and hardware components to control the satellite.

The main focus is on the OnBoard-Computer (OBC). Our field of work ranges from hardware-related languages like C(++) to high-level languages like Python and web-based applications in JavaScript. The core of the OBC is a STM32 microcontroller. FreeRTOS, an open source real-time operating system, is executed on this microcontroller. The combination allows us to abstract hardware components and accelerates our development, because we use proven technologies. The system is realized as an independently developed module (PC104). For this we use the open source software KiCad. In order to ensure the best possible integration with other software, we consider space standards such as ECSS and CCSDS where possible.

Mission Control Software

While the hardware and software of the ground station is designed by the Communications subsection, we are working on a mission control software. This will visualize the telemetry of the satellite and allow us to communicate with it. Even though a satellite is largely autonomous, it may be necessary to initiate actions or influence behavior from the ground. In addition to the technical requirements we also consider aspects like portability and intuitive handling. This is realized by combining OpenMCT as frontend and YAMCS as backend.

Mode of operation

Just like the other subsections, we work towards the fulfillment of various milestones within one iteration (~6 months). At the end of an iteration an evaluation of the work takes place, whereupon new milestones for the next iteration are worked out. Here we also work closely with other subsections. The actual development takes place alone, in groups or in large groups at our weekly meetings. Concrete tasks are mostly interdisciplinary, necessary knowledge is worked out together. How much time you want to invest is up to you, we do not require a minimum number of hours per week / month.

Open Source Philosophy

All software developed by us, as well as other components, are provided under open source licenses to support the CubeSat community and to provide a template for amateur satellite builders.

Interest aroused?

Then come and visit us at one of our meetings. Our weekly meeting takes place on Discord. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the team leader of the OnBoard-Computer-Team, Nicholas Wolf.