The technical issues with implementing spacecraft open avionics platforms

Robert T. Caffrey, Timothy W. Simpson, Rebecca Henderson, Edward Crawley

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Non-aerospace industries from automobiles to consumer electronics are using product platform concepts to expedite product development. By planning and developing a series of products based on similar architectures, organizations can reuse hardware, software, and manufacturing processes to provide a wide range of products, at low cost and with short development cycles. The product platform process can provide aerospace organizations with a similar advantage. The nature of spacecraft systems creates special technical, strategic, economic, and organizational challenges for implementing product platforms, yet several aerospace organizations are implementing avionics platforms with significant strategic, technical, and economic benefits. This paper reviews the concepts and strategies of product platforms and reviews some spacecraft examples of product platforms. The paper then examines the principles, strategies, and approaches for implementing open avionics platforms for spacecraft. Finally this paper examines NASA projects that are applying product platform concepts. Based on aerospace and non-aerospace examples and the analyses of their results, this paper concludes that spacecraft avionics based on modularity, standard interfaces, and open platform architectures create significant value for NASA and other aerospace organizations. This despite the low volume and long development cycles typical of space-flight missions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2002
Event40th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit 2002 - Reno, NV, United States
Duration: Jan 14 2002Jan 17 2002


Other40th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit 2002
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityReno, NV

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Aerospace Engineering


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