Press Release

NASA Goddard Releases Open Source Core Flight Software System Application Suite to Public

By SpaceRef Editor
March 26, 2015
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NASA Goddard Releases Open Source Core Flight Software System Application Suite to Public

The Innovative Technology Partnerships Office at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, announced the release of its core Flight System (cFS) Application Suite to the public. The cFS application suite is composed of 12 individual Command and Data Handling (C&DH) flight software applications that together create a reusable library of common C&DH functions.  

The cFS application suite allows developers to rapidly configure and deploy a significant portion of the C&DH software system for new missions, test platforms and prototypes, resulting in reduced schedule and cost. The cFS framework takes advantage of a rich heritage of successful NASA Goddard flight software efforts and addresses the challenges of rapidly increasing software development costs and schedules due to constant changes and advancements in hardware. Flight software complexity is expected to increase dramatically in coming years and the cFS provides a means to manage the growth and accommodate changes in flight system designs.

The cFS is currently being used by the Core Observatory of NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission, launched on Feb. 27, 2014, from Tanegashima Space Center in Japan, and it has also been used by NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, on their most recent mission, the NASA Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), which launched Sept. 6, 2013. Other centers such as NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston are currently using the cFS as well.

The core Flight Executive (cFE) and the Operating System Abstraction Library (OSAL) are two cFS components previously released as open source. These two components provide a platform-independent application runtime environment. The 12 applications in this release provide C&DH functionality common to most spacecraft Flight Software (FSW) systems. 

This means the current suite of cFS open source applications now provide a complete FSW system including a layered architecture with user-selectable and configurable features. These architectural features coupled with an implementation targeted for embedded software platforms makes the cFS suitable for reuse on any number of flight projects and/or embedded software systems at very significant cost savings. Each component in the system is a separate loadable file and are available to download free of cost at the links listed in the table.

The complete cFS software suite will fully support the cFS user community and future generations of cFS spacecraft platforms and configurations. The cFS community expects the number of reusable applications to continue to grow as the user community expands.

For more information on the core Flight Software System, please contact the NASA Goddard Innovative Technology Partnerships Office at 301-286-5810 or email

To learn what other NASA software programs are available for industry use, please visit the NASA Technology Transfer Program’s Software Catalog at:


SpaceRef staff editor.