Enable NASA’s communication with a lunar lander on the far side of the moon


Enable NASA’s communication with a lunar lander on the far side of the moon


Enable NASA’s communication with a lunar lander on the far side of the moon

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the US federal government responsible for the civil space program aeronautics research and space research. It has led space exploration, including the 1968–1972 Apollo Moon landing missions, the Skylab space station, and the Space Shuttle and it currently supports the International Space Station and oversees the future of American space exploration.


The Challenge

Artium partnered with NASA and Berkeley Space Sciences Lab (SSL) to build flight software that needed to be in testing within a short timeline. Historically there was a lack of hardware emulation that restricted the amount of flight software that could be delivered in parallel and resources had always been shared across multiple missions, making it difficult to maintain rapid and consistent progress.

Beyond addressing these main delivery challenges, NASA also needed a new solution that would be reusable across multiple missions.


The Solution

Artium software engineers joined the team to write the emulation test suite that SSL engineers could write flight software against while the hardware was being developed. The first step was to create an integration level test suite in CI while completing the first test of UART to UART (Universal Asynchronous Receiver / Transmitter) communication. 

The team then established point to point communication between a host test machine and the emulation so that software could be written across radio and flight control board communication. 

Finally, they created a socket connection on top of the PPP connection and validated that it worked through the new test suite.

Artium also ensured that this test suite was a reusable solution that could be used across multiple missions.


The Outcome

The SSL team are now able to write an emulation of the radio that responds as the real radio does over a PPP connection and demonstrated it works in a simulated flight software environment.  

“It was important to be able to partition the development efforts, and the framework that Artium created is allowing us to develop in front of the hardware delivery.” - Ryan McLean, Aerospace Manager at Space Sciences Laboratory