Astrium Selects AdaCore’s GNAT Pro and PolyORB for International Space Station

Ada-based software development environment and middleware ensure high reliability of essential communications technologies for ISS’ Core Ground System

BERLIN, PARIS, and NEW YORK, June 11, 2013 – Ada-Europe 2013 Conference – AdaCore announced today that Astrium, a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, has selected AdaCore’s GNAT Pro development environment and PolyORB middleware toolset for use in the Core Ground System (CGS) - CGS forms the basis to operate the Columbus laboratory, the European contribution to  the International Space Station (ISS). The CGS insures efficient communication across a network of User Support and Operation Centres distributed throughout Europe. GNAT Pro and PolyORB are being used to facilitate efficient, reliable communication across the Ada applications that Astrium developed for Columbus ground and onboard applications. PolyORB also supplies Astrium’s developers with the interoperability necessary for CGS, allowing for equally seamless integration of software systems written in Java or C++.

The CGS was first built as a test and checkout system, in Ada, to test and qualify the Columbus laboratory on the ground, and it continues to be used as a monitoring and control system for the Columbus laboratory and the European payloads integrated in Columbus at the Columbus Control Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen and various payload operation centers spread across Europe. More specifically, the CGS is an integrated software toolset that is used as the common software in all operational European ground facilities. It links together the processes and phases of development, integration, test and operations, eliminating incompatibilities in the work flow.

To carry out the Ada development of CGS, Astrium selected the GNAT Pro development environment. This product includes tools that take advantage of Ada’s properties to perform additional static and dynamic analysis, reaching even higher levels of reliability. For the middleware implementation of the CGS, Astrium selected the PolyORB toolset. PolyORB provides distribution services through standard programming interfaces and communication protocols. It addresses distribution model interoperability issues by allowing a single middleware instance to efficiently support multiple personalities executing simultaneously. Its modular architecture, emphasizing code reuse, allows the definition and deployment of middleware configurations that are specially adapted for real-time, high integrity applications.

“Heterogeneity in modern systems is an increasing reality, driving strong requirements in terms of interoperability,” explains Quentin Ochem, Technical Account Manager at AdaCore. “PolyORB provides an integrated solution, allowing the interconnection of components developed using the Ada programming language with software developed by other providers on different technologies, guaranteeing the longevity of the development investments.”

“The usage of CORBA allows us to use our well-proven Ada applications in a complex operation scenario in connection with other ground products. With PolyORB, we now get all major Ada development tools and components from one source. The competent support of the AdaCore team and the high quality of the AdaCore products helped us in selecting the PolyORB middleware,” states Stephan Marz, software engineer at Astrium.

By selecting AdaCore’s products, Astrium has found a valuable ‘one-shop’ solution for both the Ada development and the middleware implementation of the CGS. The expert advice and unmatched product support that AdaCore offers can take into account the needs of Astrium’s Ada developers, and also answers the challenges Astrium faces creating robust software that functions efficiently across the many different systems created by the international community at work on the ISS.

About AdaCore
Founded in 1994, AdaCore is the leading provider of commercial software solutions for Ada, a state-of-the-art programming language designed for large, long-lived applications where safety, security, and reliability are critical. AdaCore's flagship product is the open source GNAT Pro development environment, which comes with expert on-line support and is available on more platforms than any other Ada technology. AdaCore has an extensive world-wide customer base; see for further information.
Ada and GNAT Pro see a growing usage in high-integrity and safety-certified applications, including space-based systems, commercial aircraft avionics, military systems, air traffic management/control, railroad systems, and medical devices, and in security-sensitive domains, such as financial services. The SPARK Pro toolset, available from AdaCore, is especially useful in such contexts.

AdaCore has North American headquarters in New York and European headquarters in Paris.

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