Microservices Architecture for Embedded Space Systems Solutions

Microservices Architecture for Embedded Space Systems

Space travel has been one of humankind’s most long standing (and expensive) fascinations. The fact that we’d already made it to the moon over half a century ago says volumes about the amount of resources that had been poured into the venture at the time. But space travel has evolved by leaps and bounds in the years since 1962, led by advances in the computer hardware and software domain.
As things currently stand, microservices and Distributed Systems are closely tied to the future of space travel. Let’s take a look at why.

What are embedded systems and why do they make sense for space travel?

An embedded system is a microprocessor-based hardware implementation that sees to a very specific task, either independently or as part of a larger system. The reason embedded systems make sense for space travel applications in terms of hardware, is the same reason microservices make sense from a software perspective – failure protection. Think about it. A spacecraft and its onboard computer hardware have to contend with the harsh environment of space. There’s high, fluctuating radiation and extreme temperatures, the chances of a single-event upset are very high.
If something goes wrong, the last thing you want is for a single hardware failure to cripple the entire craft’s critical functions. And if an onboard program runs into an error, the last thing you want is for that error to be passed on to your other systems, effectively resulting in a cascade failure for all your onboard computers. A modular approach is vital, both in the buildup to a space flight, and during the course of it.

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Where microservices come in

One of the ‘communications’ mechanisms being tested are microservices that allow for communication between the multiple modules that will make up the colony. The objective aim is to create a fault-tolerant system of autonomous or near-autonomous parts that is able to maintain its integrity even while working with scarce resources. This leaves few options aside from microservices. How appropriate is it that the dream to land astronauts on the moon now depends upon the Cloud?
This presents us with a unique problem. Microservices are a solution that most effectively tackle problems relating to scalability and load balancing. They do not lend themselves to cloud security or compliance quite the same way, and both are critical when it comes to a multi-billion dollar space program.
This has led to a reimagining of conventional microservices architecture. It would be too costly in terms of performance to implement security measures at a layer above the microservices, and thus security must be implemented at the most granular level. This leads to the overhaul of DevOps in favor of DevSecOps, which ensures security considerations are taken into account during the system design process. Coupled with the secure cloud access and compliance assurance offered by Amazon’s GovCloud, DevSecOps helps outfit microservices to handle space age problems when your run-of-the-mill microservices architecture just can’t seem to cut it anymore.
GovCloud’s greatest strength in assuaging security risks has to do with the service’s intended clientele. The service is only available to American citizens, only accessible on American soil, and completely isolated from the rest of Amazon’s plethora of cloud based services. What’s more, it’s compliant with the regulation standards of just about every department of government, making it the only cloud services solution that can effectively be used to host cloud services that are intended for government use.

The Race back to the Moon

A microcontroller lacks the processing capability to implement computer vision-oriented tasks such as real-time error handling and adaptation. They are also naïve to the rest of the system, and can’t account for errors occurring in the rest of the system. There is therefore a need for oversight; that much is clear, but oversight requires fail-proof communication from the site of failure. You can only fix something if you’re aware something is wrong in the first place.
This brings us to the state of the space race today, with NASA’s next frontier being to return astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972. Artemis, the successor to the infamous Apollo program, is already underway. The first flight by Artemis I is unmanned and set to take place this year, and will be the first of at least four planned missions set to happen over the next five years. Artemis I is essentially a test run for communications and equipment, and is a precursor to Artemis II, which will be a manned flight to the moon and back. Eventually, NASA hopes to form the foundations of a lunar colony through the Artemis project, taking components and shuttles into space and constructing a miniature space station on the moon.

Why Cloud Computing Technologies is the best subcontractor for the Microservices Architecture for Embedded Space Systems

We at CCT have years of experience engineering, designing, and deploying cloud based solutions and functionality suites. But cloud technologies are a burgeoning field, and that’s a claim many could make. What sets us apart for this endeavor is the fact that we are a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) firm, and that means we’re given added consideration when in the running for any government contract.

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If you think your business has a part to play in the upcoming race back to the moon, let us help you get your foot in the door. Government contracts are fiercely contested, and partnering with an SDVOSB might be just the edge you need to put you a cut above the competition. Reach out to us here contact and we will assist with microservices architecture for embedded space systems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Microservices architecture breaks down applications into smaller, independent services that communicate via well-defined APIs. This approach is especially relevant for embedded space systems as it offers enhanced modularity, making it easier to update, maintain, and scale specific components of spacecraft software systems without affecting the whole system. Contact us to see how you can integrate this into your space systems.
Due to their independent nature, microservices can isolate failures within a specific service, preventing a system-wide failure which is crucial in space missions. This enhances the overall reliability of space systems, as updates and bug fixes can occur in real-time without jeopardizing the functionality of other components. Implementing microservices could significantly enhance your mission success rates.
Absolutely. Microservices can be designed to interact with existing legacy systems through APIs, allowing for gradual integration with minimal disruption. This makes it an ideal approach for upgrading and enhancing legacy systems in the aerospace sector without the need for complete overhauls, which can be costly and risky.
While microservices enhance certain aspects of security by isolating services, they also increase the attack surface due to the communication between multiple services. Implementing robust security protocols, such as mutual TLS for service communication and rigorous API security, is essential. Our security experts can help tailor advanced security strategies for your projects.
Microservices simplify complexity by segmenting software into smaller, manageable pieces, each responsible for a single functionality. This modularity allows teams to understand, develop, and test systems more effectively, leading to more stable deployments and easier management of complex space systems software.
Key challenges include ensuring data consistency across services, managing service deployment in constrained environments, and achieving real-time performance. These can be addressed by using data orchestration tools, containerization for efficient deployment, and dedicated real-time microservices strategies. Our experts specialize in crafting solutions that mitigate these challenges effectively.
Microservices are independently deployable, which means updates can be pushed to individual services without necessitating downtime or full system reboots. This is incredibly valuable during long-duration space missions where software needs to adapt to new scientific findings or unexpected conditions.

At CloudComputingTechnologies.AI, we combine deep expertise in microservices architecture with a specialized understanding of aerospace requirements. We provide tailored solutions that incorporate industry-leading practices for reliability, efficiency, and continuous improvement, essential for space missions.

For more detailed information on enhancing your embedded space systems with microservices architecture, or to begin a consultation, please call us at (800) 804-9726 or fill out our contact form. Our team is committed to delivering advanced solutions that meet the unique demands of space systems development.

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