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OHB brings its technological expertise to the METASAT project

Source: OHB, Defence Industry Europe

OHB System AG, a subsidiary of German space and technology group OHB SE, is part of the European consortium carrying out the project "Modular Model-Based Design and Testing for Applications in Satellites" (METASAT for short). METASAT is a 24-month Research Innovation Action funded by the European Commission in the framework of Horizon Europe with a total of EUR 2 million. The project aims to develop a design methodology for complex satellite missions based on a model-based engineering (MBE) approach. It will introduce a holistic and modular model-based framework to design and test software modules aligned with existing open hardware high-performance computing platforms. The project consortium consists of five European partners and is led by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center. OHB System AG is contributing its expertise in the realisation of complex space missions and will be providing specific use cases.

 

European Defence & Security Summit 2023.

 

Growing market for high-quality data from space

High-quality data from space is highly sought after and the market is expected to continue to grow in the future. This leads to increasingly complex satellite missions. The demand for new capabilities and the exploration of new markets is directly linked to the development of new competitive technologies in the spirit of Industry 4.0 such as flexible satellite platforms, very high-resolution sensors, AI and quantum communications. The implementation of these technologies in on-board satellite systems requires a high level of computational power and efficiency that can only be delivered by modern hardware components and complex software architectures.



 

Increased complexity requires new design methodologies

The development and testing of these hardware components and software stacks requires a design methodology that can cope with the increased complexity. To meet this need, model-based (systems) engineering is increasingly being used in the design process of space systems, but the method cannot yet address the challenges posed by the high-performance architectures and breakthrough technologies associated with Industry 4.0. For this reason, METASAT aims to develop a novel design framework for software modules based on MBE and the use of open architecture hardware. To this end, METASAT will leverage existing software virtualisation layers (e.g., hypervisors) that already provide guarantees of standards compliance on high-performance computing platforms based on open hardware architectures. Without such measures, the time and cost of developing new systems could become prohibitive in the future as system complexity increases.

“The use of modern open-source processors opens the door for high-performance applications on future satellites,” explains Eckart Göhler, OHB project manager for METASAT. “For OHB, the main benefit and focus of the METASAT project is the use of a virtualisation layer that allows small but critical and expensive software parts to be separated from less critical software applications.”



 

European partnership

The METASAT consortium comprises five partners from three European countries: Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), Ikerlan S. Coop and Fent Innovative Software Solutions (FentISS) from Spain, Collins Aerospace from Italy and OHB System AG from Germany. This combination of knowledge generators (BSC, Ikerlan, Collins), a medium-sized technology integrator (FentISS) and an end user (OHB System AG) makes it possible to develop and test the new toolchain in a real scenario. For this purpose, OHB System AG will provide use cases based on real projects (e.g., EnMAP).

 

European Defence & Security Summit 2023.

 

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