Decoded

Does SpaceX really use GNU Linux on its computer systems?

Relation between SpaceX and GNU Linux Decoded

In the first place we must know that it is SpaceX which is an American company which was founded by Elon Musk in 2002 and had the purpose of reducing the costs of space travel and facilitating the colonization of the planet Tuesday. However, in recent months it has become very popular because the Starlink constellation has developed several launch vehicles, this being a project that will facilitate Internet access worldwide. As well as the Dragon cargo ship and astronauts to the International Space Station on Dragon 2.

SpaceX is a private company that has had many achievements since its inception such as the first funded liquid fuel rocket launch to reach orbit in 2008 among others, however this company contains powerful SpaceX software which can carry astronauts to the International Space Station completely autonomously, using old friends known as Linux and the C / C ++ programming language.

Elon Musk has managed to make history with his company, but it is important to know that many of his private projects have used Linux to improve and improve their space launch vehicles. And as for the use of Linux in your company, it is not a surprise because of the operating system that you use in countless scientific and governmental projects, it is present in airport control software or in terms of traffic lights in many cities and towns. An example of this can be found when NASA changed Windows to Linux in 2013.

SpaceX uses one of the classic Linux versions, and it is known that the Falcon 9 software and the Dragon Crew Capsule have been written and programmed with the oldest systems or why not say the most veteran systems such as the C programming language / C ++ that has been used for more than 40 years and which continues to be the most popular programming language used by programmers worldwide.

Speaking a little about NASA they managed to send two human beings into space and which obtained a total success which is a great achievement for the SpaceX company, which this technical achievement was achieved because the software that governs the ships and the rockets of this company and that we now know that Falcon 9 is governed by Linux and which has PowerPC microprocessors and a triple redundancy system for decision-making, all controlled by Linux.

Regarding the concept of triple redundancy, it is used in three identical systems which process the information and then arrive at the result, this is a type of system widely applied in satellite systems, it is also used in the well-known ECC RAM memory modules (Error- Correcting Code) which allows correcting most of the types of data corruption in those memories, as for the Falcon 9 that triple redundancy works differently. The Falcon 9 has three dual-core x86 processors for its three flight computers, and each of these cores runs an instance of Linux. In each instance of calculations and decisions that must be made, the results of each nucleus are compared, it is verified and if it is a positive result, the instance is sent to the rocket, if it is not positive, it produces a negative calculation. Which all these calculations that are presented in this Falcon 9 project is under the governance of Linux.

The flight computer software is written in C / C ++ and runs in an X86 environment similar to that of a conventional PC. In order to test this software, the engineers simulate its behavior in an analog way as they would be used in a real mission, in fact if they cut the power of one of the flight computers at random to verify that despite this the system continues to behave precisely, This is one of the annotations that are highlighted in this article so that in this way you can see the advantages that you have with Linux.

Linux can control everything in SpaceX

It is important to say that thanks to the fact that Elon Musk in his search to improve his company SpaceX, he has implemented a lot the GNU / Linux system which has facilitated the help in his systems and projects that he has developed and that were also programmed by C ++ which allows to control the system in the company of Elon Musk.

When we refer in this case to control, that is, the entire system, which carries all the processes on touch screens that allow the engineers who are in charge of said work to be aware of the entire operation of the company’s system. Which from the research already obtained we know that these are programmed and designed by Linux and that also the projects that are in process and that have not yet finished are going hand in hand with Linux, therefore there cannot be a failure because it could put the life of an astronaut at risk, it is for this reason that SpaceX uses three processors that execute the same parameters at the same time and thus guarantee the life of the astronauts and Only these processes are carried out with Linux, for this reason and for multiple reasons I can say that SpaceX does use GNU / Linux, allowing better development and better results in its space vehicles.

It is an advantage to be able to obtain the satellite Internet that one of Elon Musk’s projects in his company and thus guarantee that worldwide every human being can be connected to the Internet more easily. These projects are developed with Linux. A project that nowadays has become very popular and knowing that it already had its first launch and that it was achieved thanks to the Linux drivers.

Manish Gehlot

I am a privacy, security, encryption and software freedom enthusiast. I am into VPNs, TLS security. Recently I also got into technical writings including guides.

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