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Integrating ROS 2 with the Core Flight System

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC20C0310
Agency Tracking Number: 205037
Amount: $124,861.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: T4
Solicitation Number: STTR_20_P1
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-07-29
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-09-30
Small Business Information
100 North East Loop 410, Suite 520
San Antonio, TX 78216-4727
United States
DUNS: 193786014
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Stephen Hart
 (281) 678-4194
Business Contact
 Stephen Hart
Phone: (281) 678-4194
Research Institution
 Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory LLC
11100 Johns Hopkins Rd
Laurel, MD 21044-3286
United States

 Nonprofit College or University

Deployment of robots will revolutionize space exploration in the coming years, both for manned and unmanned missions. It has become universally accepted that in order to increase the number, scope, and innovation of space missions, reusable, component-based software needs to be developed. That is, complex robot and flight software can be developed concurrently and more robustly by utilizing a common framework of shared software libraries and tools. Thus, components developed by different organizations for different missions can be shared and reused because all components use the same abstracted API to the underlying hardware, including a common communication bus. A variety of programming frameworks have been created over the years that do just this.The goal of TRACLabs and the Applied Physics Laboratory is to integrate two such frameworks--NASA#39;s cFS (core Flight System) and Open Robotics#39; ROS 2--in order to leverage the advantages of each system, while helping validate ROS 2 for space flight in a measured way. cFS has a proven track record for supporting embedded, Class-B space systems, but it does not contain nearly the number of applications that exist in the ROS ecosystem. ROS is useful for quickly building state-of-the-art robot systems that use a large number of cutting-edge algorithms for perception, localization, manipulation, and human-robot interaction; however, little concern is given to resource usage (memory, CPU, bandwidth), longevity, or even failure recovery by individual ROS component developers. The new ROS 2 framework, which is built on DDS message passing middleware, has the potential to eventually replace cFS for robotic flight systems. In the meantime, advanced algorithms written by the ROS 2 community should not be ignored by upcoming NASA missions. By combining cFS for safety-critical components with ROS 2 for advanced-data-processing components, near-term space systems can benefit by achieving more autonomy and more scientific discovery.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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