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Smart Avionics for Flight tErmination SysTems, SAFEST

Project description

Terminating space missions from space

When an unmanned space launch vehicle flies off course and puts public safety and property in danger, its mission must be immediately terminated. But this is not always possible since ground transmitters need line-of-sight radio frequency transmission. One solution is the autonomous flight termination unit (AFTU), which can be mounted onboard a launch vehicle. The EU-funded SAFEST project will develop an AFTU for micro/small launchers. Different from other developments linked to a launch site, the proposed AFTU segregates the general-purpose sensors and functions from the mission abort rules, which are launcher and spaceport dependant. This enables customisation for a given launcher and site. This strategy is a game changer for the reduction of launch service cost and access to space.


SAFEST contributes to the European capability to provide independent, reliable and efficient solutions in the global space transportation market.
The project will lead to a demonstrator of a modular Autonomous Flight Termination Unit (AFTU) for micro/small launchers, validated in a representative flight processor (execution) and emulated environment (dynamics), reaching TRL 5-6. This solution will differentiate from other developments tightly linked to a specific launch site, safety regulation and oriented (cost and mass) to institutional launchers. The proposed AFTU segregates the general-purpose sensors and functions (e.g. localisation) from the mission abort rules which are launcher and spaceport dependant, allowing customisation for a given launcher and site. This strategy is deemed a game changer for the reduction of launch service cost, availability, flexibility, enabling a more responsive access to space.
Advanced, low-cost, and modular avionics solutions. SAFEST proposes to mature up to TRL 5-6 an MPSoC-based SW execution platform for modern avionics. Avionics and GNC SW development involve highly demanding tasks calling for powerful computational resources. A SW execution platform is proposed, HW independent, multi-layered, and highly decoupled: SMart Integrated Avionics (MIA). It will bring the following benefits: increased performance (several cores), increased flexibility (modular architecture, easy 3rd-party integration, OS & HW abstraction) and reduced cost (COTS components, new methodologies), fully oriented to reusability and AppStore concept.
Integration of both technologies into a single solution. The integrated set will demonstrate that a modular AFTU design, despite its highly demanding computational load, can be implemented in a modular architecture and SW development environment.


Net EU contribution
€ 818 137,50
48930 Las Arenas

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Noreste País Vasco Bizkaia
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 818 137,50

Participants (5)