SpaceX uses Linux on Demo-2 mission computers with NASA


Last Saturday (30), SpaceX made history by carrying out the first manned launch in North American territory since 2011, taking two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). What many people did not know is that the computers in the Demo-2 mission use Linux.

According to the ZDNET website, the open source operating system is present in the computers of the Falcon 9 rocket, in a simplified version. It runs on three PCs, equipped with dual-core X86 processors, on which the flight software, written in C / C ++, runs.

Also according to the publication, the use of the same flight control software on three different computers is necessary to provide greater security. In this redundancy system, each decision made is compared with the other two cores. In case of any disagreement, it is discarded and the process begins again.

Commands are only executed when the three processors have the same response. From there, they are sent to the Falcon 9 engines and the rocket’s directional control system. This mechanism, which helps to reduce failures, is also found in most modern aircraft.

Crew Dragon and Space Station

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, in which astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken traveled to the ISS, also uses the penguin’s operating system on their computers.

The probe’s software was written in C ++, while the touchscreen interface is rendered using Chromium and JavaScript. In the event of a display problem, they have the option of using physical buttons to control the spacecraft.

At the Space Station, Linux is used in the command and control software of the orbital laboratory, while Windows 10 is used to access the internet, read e-mails and perform other activities during the free time of the astronauts, who have HP notebooks. Zbook 15s.


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