NEW YORK, PARIS, & BATH, United Kingdom–Today, AdaCore and Altran announced a new space application for the GNAT Pro technology and SPARK language toolset, with the successful launch of Vermont Technical College’s Lunar CubeSat. The tiny satellite, measuring only 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm and weighing 1.1 kg, was launched into a 500 km earth orbit, where it will remain for about three years to test the systems that will be used for the eventual lunar mission. The CubeSat project is part of NASA’s ELaNa IV program (Educational Launch of Nano-satellites).
The CubeSat’s navigation and control software was developed in SPARK/Ada using AdaCore’s GNAT Programming Studio (GPS) IDE and GNAT Pro compiler and exploiting Altran’s SPARK toolset to prove the absence of run-time errors. The software was developed at Vermont Technical College by a team of undergraduate students under the direction of Dr. Peter Chapin. Although they had no previous knowledge of SPARK or Ada, the students came up to speed quickly and were able to take advantage of SPARK’s various annotations to produce robust code.