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Core Avionics & Software Technologies Group


The Core Avionics and Software Technologies (CAST) group develops flight software for small spacecraft missions. The team developed flight software for the Lunar Atmosphere Dust and Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission, which orbited the Moon before crashing into it to study the contents of the plume of the crash. CAST develops software using a model-based development process, starting from requirements, then proceeding to design models (generally in Simulink), and then auto-coding (when possible) into core Flight Software (cFS/cFE) applications. The development process follows the Agile methodology, with short coding sprints. In terms of software quality and assurance, CAST is a proponent of testing early and often, meaning that CAST uses RSE-developed capabilities to test artifacts as early as design models, and uses a suite of automated software engineering tools, such as software version management, continuous integration, bug tracking, and various documentation tools.


  • BioSentinel is a low-cost CubeSat spacecraft on a space biology mission that will use budding yeast to detect, measure, and compare the impact of deep space radiation on DNA repair over long time beyond low-Earth orbit.
  • The Starling series of demonstration missions will test technologies required to achieve affordable, distributed spacecraft “swarm” missions that are: scalable to at least 100 spacecraft for applications that include synchronized multipoint measurements; involve closely coordinated ensembles of two or more spacecraft operating as a single unit for interferometric, synthetic aperture, or similar sensor architectures; or use autonomous or semi-autonomous operation of multiple spacecraft functioning as a unit to achieve science or other mission objectives at low-cost. Starling1 will focus on developing technologies that enable scalability and deep space application.

Group Lead

Joseph Castle

Group Members

Nathan Benz
Scott Christ

Howard Cannon

Edmund De la Cruz

Vinh Doan
Kandy Fabreo

Leigh Garbs

Mohammad Hejase

Michael Ho

Tony Koudsi

Robert Lim

Matthew Knudson

Andrew Mikhail

Craig Pires

John Rasmussen
James Roach

Todd Sarshad
Kevin Seywald

Dave Varvell

Associate Members

Antony Gillete
Eddy Mazmanian

Dawn McIntosh