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OpenSatKit at Small Sat

OpenSatKit enables quick startup for CubeSat missions

Dave McComas (NASA) and Ryan Melton (Ball Aeropspace) will be attending the Small Sat 2017 conference. Their talk will cover the capabilities and benefits of OpenSatKit. They will also be hosting a hands-on workshop where atendees will go through a demo with the kit.

Find their conference page here.


The software required to develop, integrate, and operate a spacecraft is substantial regardless of whether it’s a large or small satellite. Even getting started can be a monumental task. Every satellite mission requires three primary categories of software to function. The first is Flight Software (FSW) which provides the onboard control of the satellites and its payload(s). Second, while developing a satellite on earth, it is necessary to simulate the satellite’s orbit, attitude, and actuators, to ensure that the systems that control these aspects will work correctly in the real environment. Finally, the ground has to be able to communicate with the satellite, monitor its performance and health, and display its data.

OpenSatKit provides these three software components in an open source software package. It combines NASA’s Core Flight System (cFS)1,2, NASA’s 423 spacecraft dynamics simulator, and Ball Aerospace’s COSMOS4 ground system into a system that can be deployed and operational within hours. OpenSatKit is designed to simplify the task of integrating new FSW applications and an example Raspberry Pi target is included so users can gain experience working with a low-cost embedded hardware target. All users can benefit from OpenSatKit but the greatest impact and benefits will be to SmallSat missions with constrained budgets and small software teams.