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Software: The Overlooked Glue that Holds CubeSats Together

Speaker: John Bellardo, California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly)
Wednesday, July 17, 2019,
10:00AM-11:00AM Pacific Daylight Time  

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Click here to download the presentation.

Abstract: The key ingredients to the miniaturization of CubeSats is software. Namely, consolidating functionality that has historically been performed in dedicated hardware into a more sophisticated flight software system. The old adage that software has no mass or volume rings true here. The challenge with this approach is that software is also the most overlooked component of a CubeSat. It is often left until too late in the project plan, its development and testing time is underestimated, and many times project managers approach it from a position of fear.

In this webinar I’ll present many of the tradeoffs of placing more functionality in software and provide an overview of good software engineering practices that can help a CubeSat development team do a better job of remaining on schedule. These practices are drawn mainly from the software engineering community and experiences, not from traditional aerospace software management approaches. The engineering topics discussed will include revision control, code reviews, unit testing, and integrated testing.

Bio: Dr. Bellardo received his Ph.D. from UCSD in 2006 and immediately joined the Computer Science and Software Engineering Department at Cal Poly. He has been involved with Cal Poly’s CubeSat Lab since 2008 in a variety of capacities, including overseeing their software architecture and being actively involved in 5 flight missions. In 2018, Dr. Bellardo took over the role of lab director.

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