Astroscale selects Wind River's VxWorks to command ELSA-M Servicer spacecraft

July 20, 2023
Astroscale develops solutions to create sustainable space systems and mitigate the growing and hazardous buildup of debris in space.

ALAMEDA, Calif. - Astroscale in Tokyo needed command software for its ELSA-M Servicer spacecraft. They found their solution from Wind River in Alameda, Calif. Wind River announced that its VxWorks technology was selected for use in the spacecraft's on-board computer (OBC).

Astroscale develops solutions to create sustainable space systems and mitigate the growing and hazardous buildup of debris in space. Astroscale’s End-of-Life service line (ELSA-M) provides a space debris solution to safely and responsibly capture and retire multiple satellites in one mission.

The OBC will support the rendezvous between Astroscale’s servicer spacecraft and the client satellite. Astroscale’s software applications on VxWorks are responsible for the computer vision processing for the computer system that will command ELSA-M. A high level of precision is needed for robotic operations, including maneuvers during rendezvous between the ELSA-M servicer and retired satellites.

An in-orbit demonstration (IOD) mission to capture an inactive satellite is anticipated to launch in 2025. This will be the first time a commercial active debris removal (ADR) satellite will complete the end-to-end operations of a removal service with a full-sized and fully representative client satellite. The mission is part of Astroscale’s partnership with OneWeb and the European Space Agency (ESA).

“Astroscale is addressing the hazardous matter of space debris, and we’re proud to help them advance their mission to develop sustainable space programs,” said Avijit Sinha, chief product officer, Wind River. “Our industry-leading technology demonstrates the continuing Wind River leadership in real-time software solutions for mission-critical systems. For decades, Wind River has successfully supported complex space missions and helped customers navigate the unique challenges of these programs.”

“Our ELSA-M service strives to solve satellite operators’ end-of-life disposal challenges. With increasing regulatory, industry, and public pressure to prioritize space sustainability, Astroscale’s ELSA-M service presents a proactive way for satellite operators to protect the orbital environment and the services that they offer,” said Stephen Wokes, director of engineering, Astroscale Ltd. “The extremely complex rendezvous operations require the highest levels of precision, quality robotics, and onboard systems for successful maneuvering and capture, making it imperative to work with proven technology such as that from Wind River as our software foundation.”

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