ALAMEDA, CA — July 19, 2023 — Wind River®, a global leader in delivering software for mission-critical intelligent systems, today announced that VxWorks® is used in the On-Board Computer (OBC) to command the Astroscale ELSA-M Servicer spacecraft.
Astroscale develops innovative solutions to create sustainable space systems and mitigate the growing and hazardous buildup of debris in space. Astroscale’s End-of-Life service line (ELSA-M) provides a space debris solution to safely and responsibly capture and retire multiple satellites in one mission.
“Astroscale is addressing the hazardous matter of space debris, and we’re proud to help them advance their mission to develop sustainable space programs,” said Avijit Sinha, chief product officer, Wind River. “Our industry-leading technology demonstrates the continuing Wind River leadership in real-time software solutions for mission-critical systems. For decades, Wind River has successfully supported complex space missions and helped customers navigate the unique challenges of these programs.”
“Our ELSA-M service strives to solve satellite operators’ end-of-life disposal challenges. With increasing regulatory, industry, and public pressure to prioritize space sustainability, Astroscale’s ELSA-M service presents a proactive way for satellite operators to protect the orbital environment and the services that they offer,” said Stephen Wokes, director of engineering, Astroscale Ltd. “The extremely complex rendezvous operations require the highest levels of precision, quality robotics, and onboard systems for successful maneuvering and capture, making it imperative to work with proven technology such as that from Wind River as our software foundation.”
The OBC will support the rendezvous between Astroscale’s servicer spacecraft and the client satellite. Astroscale’s software applications on VxWorks are responsible for the computer vision processing for the computer system that will command ELSA-M. A high level of precision is needed for robotic operations, including maneuvers during rendezvous between the ELSA-M servicer and retired satellites.
An in-orbit demonstration (IOD) mission to capture an inactive satellite is anticipated to launch in 2025. This will be the first time a commercial active debris removal (ADR) satellite will complete the end-to-end operations of a removal service with a full-sized and fully representative client satellite. The mission is part of Astroscale’s partnership with OneWeb and the European Space Agency (ESA).
VxWorks delivers unrivaled deterministic high performance and sets the standard for a scalable, future-proof, safe, secure, and reliable operating environment for running mission-critical computing systems that demand the highest standards. For more than three decades, Wind River has delivered the most proven software platform to bring dozens of intelligent systems to space, resulting in some of the most significant space missions in history.
About Wind River
Wind River is a global leader in delivering software for mission-critical intelligent systems. For more than four decades, the company has been an innovator and pioneer, powering billions of devices and systems that require the highest levels of security, safety, and reliability. Wind River software and expertise are accelerating digital transformation across industries, including automotive, aerospace, defense, industrial, medical, and telecommunications. The company offers a comprehensive portfolio supported by world-class global professional services and support and a broad partner ecosystem. To learn more, visit Wind River at www.windriver.com.
Astroscale is the first private company with a vision to secure the safe and sustainable development of space for the benefit of future generations, and the only company dedicated to on-orbit servicing across all orbits. Founded in 2013, Astroscale is developing innovative and scalable solutions across the spectrum of on-orbit servicing, including life extension, in-space situational awareness, end-of-life, and active debris removal, to create sustainable space systems and mitigate the growing and hazardous buildup of debris in space. Astroscale is also defining business cases and working with government and commercial stakeholders to develop norms, regulations, and incentives for the responsible use of space. Headquartered in Japan, Astroscale has subsidiaries in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Israel. Astroscale is a rapidly expanding venture company, working to advance safe and sustainable growth in space and solve growing environmental concerns. Find out more at www.astroscale.com.
ELSA-M (End of Life Services by Astroscale – Multiple) is the follow-on mission from Astroscale’s self-funded ELSA-d mission, advancing from an in-orbit technology demonstrator. ELSA-M will show the commercial viability of in-orbit rendezvous and magnetic capture with existing in-orbit client satellites.
Scheduled to launch in 2025, the technology is being built in-house at the Astroscale UK facility, Zeus, at Harwell Science and Innovation Campus. Once launched, the spacecraft will also be operated in-house in Astroscale’s Mission Control Centre. The ELSA-M servicer will support a range of future satellite operators, including constellations, which are equipped with a compatible magnetic capture mechanism such as the Astroscale Docking Plate.
The mission is supported by the UK Space Agency through the Sunrise Programme, which is run as a Public-Private Partnership between ESA and OneWeb.
See the ELSA-M commercial video on Astroscale’s You Tube channel.
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