EMTECH signed contract with Airbus for CRISTAL ice-monitoring satellite ISVV services
CRISTAL mission (Copernicus Polar Ice and Snow Topography Altimeter mission) is one of the High Priority Copernicus Missions that expands the network of Sentinel satellites. CRISTAL is planned to be launched in 2027 and it will be used by the European Union to monitor the cryosphere, which includes all areas of the Earth’s surface where water is found in solid form. Specifically, the satellite will gauge the thickness of sea ice and the snow that covers it, both of which are key indicators to predicting climate change.
Independent Software Verification and Validation (ISVV) must be performed on safety-critical software systems. This is also the case for CRISTAL’s onboard software. The principal aim of ISVV is to increase quality of software products, thereby reducing risks and costs through the software’s operational lifetime. ISVV provides assurance that software performs to the specified confidence level and within its designed parameters and defined requirements.
Airbus the Satellite’s Prime Contractor and ESA entrusted EMTECH to follow the CRISTAL Software developments during the next 3,5 years and analyze its functionality to provide appropriate and timely feedback to the development teams. This is the 2nd ISVV contract that Airbus awards to EMTECH team, after having successfully delivered the ISVV service on JUICE mission in 2019. This is a significant acknowledgement of the company’s know-how in the ISVV domain; that requires not only technological skills such as Static Code Analysis & EGSE/SMP2 platforms, but also profound knowledge of software quality assurance standards (e.g., ECSS, MISRA) and expertise on space systems (such as Spacecraft architecture and SVF Simulations).
The contract awarded to EMTECH concerns the CRISTAL Central Software (CSW), as well as the flight software of the satellite’s Star Tracker, GNSR and MMFU components. EMTECH’s experienced ISVV team will be responsible to independently verify and validate the onboard software of these elements, identifying high-risk areas early in the development lifecycle to increase the software quality and overall reliability.
EMTECH and Spazio IT collaborate on ISVV related activities for more than 4 years and the very good existing relationship between the two entities, as well as the unique expertise and years of experience of Spazio IT on ISVV projects, are the main factors for the selection of Spazio IT as subcontractor for this activity. Spazio IT is an SME from Italy, active since many years in ISVV activities for the European Space Agency and AIRBUS Helicopters, mostly in the areas of code centric quality platforms.
The activity is planned to be Kicked-Off during Q2-2022 and will follow the CRISTAL Software development lifecycle until its Quality Review meeting (Q4-2025).
“EMTECH is very honored for this contract and the fact that Airbus trusts our team for second time to validate the most critical flight software of a space mission. This validates the premium quality services provided in the JUICE ISVV contract and we are very glad to continue this success story also to CRISTAL mission. Currently, the company owns technology and deep know-how in the space software engineering, and based on this fact, our strategy is to participate in real space missions. Our collaboration with Airbus related to the CRISTAL mission, strengthens our path towards this business direction.”
-Nikolaos Livanos, CEO-EMTech
This project has received funding by the EU and ESA