Software Certification in Space according to ECSS

ECSS (European Cooperation for Space Standardization) outlines standards for Space software engineering, encompassing all phases of development within a Space project. It defines processes for product software, clarifying its application across the Space segment, launch services, and ground segment. This standard interfaces with management and product assurance branches, offering a comprehensive framework for Space software engineering.


ECSS CertKit


Safety Level up to

Category A

ECSS Certification Standard

First introduced in 1999 and rooted in ISO/IEC 12207, ECSS sets forth principles and requirements essential to Space software engineering. It delineates interfaces with management and product assurance streams, ensuring adherence to quality standards throughout the software life cycle.

The ECSS-E-ST-40C / ECSS-Q-ST-80C are European Safety standards defined by the ECSS which is an association of Space agencies from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, the UK and the ESA (European Space Agency).

These standards apply to various segments of a Space project, including the Space segment (e.g., payload onboard software), ground segment (e.g., mission control system software), and launch service segment. It encompasses all stages of software engineering, from requirements definition to maintenance, emphasizing the significance of reviews and documentation at each phase.

Tailorable to software criticality, ECSS (ECSS-E-ST-40C / ECSS-Q-ST-80C) facilitates the development of reliable software within the demanding context of Space missions. It expects a basic understanding of computer science from its users and is an essential tool for suppliers as well as consumers, directing requirements formulation and implementation strategies.

Safety Levels

ECSS Categories

  • Category A - Catastrophic
  • Category B - Critical
  • Category C - Major
  • Category D - Minor or Negligible

Space Safety Qualification

There is a clear difference from Aviation procedures when discussing Space Safety certification. Here, unlike in Avionics, reliance isn't placed on regulatory authorities like EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) or FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). Instead, the process depends on adherence to Independent Software Verification and Validation (ISVV) guidelines laid out by ESA.

Key to ISVV compliance is the independence of the ISVV supplier, who must operate autonomously from both the software supplier and the prime/system integrator. This necessitates full technical, managerial, and financial autonomy. In accordance with ECSS standards, ISVV is mandated for software falling under criticality levels "A" or "B" (Catastrophic or Critical). ISVV tasks encompass comprehensive verification and validation of software requirements, design, code, and tests.

Customer Benefit

Ready for ISVV: Once ISVV is successfully completed, there's no need for repetition if the same hardware/software qualified platform is utilized for later programs.
This effectiveness ensures strict adherence to Safety requirements in Space engineering activities while streamlining processes.

Reducing Time-to-Market via Safety CertKits

The PikeOS certification approach is modular and hardware independent to the upmost extend. Certifications can be easily extended to different hardware platforms with additional certifiable artefacts, such as a certifiable IP stack, ARINC 653 API, POSIX, Math Library or a filesystem. The tool chain is qualified and the safety methods and considerations are adapted according to the respected vertical market. PikeOS is certifiable according to the latest industry certification standards.

We engage in a close manner with major homologation institutes. The applied methodology is accepted by EASA and FAA. The CertKit supports the certification process of the entire system, thus reduces time-to-market. PikeOS comes with requirement documents (all hierarchy levels) that are structured by objective IDs (requirements, test cases, ...) and can be embedded in customers' system or aircraft documentation for traceability.

ARINC A653 (APEX) is the de-facto standard for space and time partitioning in Safety-critical Avionics real-time operating systems (RTOS) and is also supported by PikeOS Certification Evidences.

The PikeOS Avionics CertKit is a bundle of evidences for a specific PikeOS version and hardware. It contains:

  • Software Accomplishment Summary for PikeOS
  • Software Accomplishment Summary custom BSP (if any)
  • Safety Manual for PikeOS
  • Safety Manual for selected Architecture
  • Tool Qualification Report
  • Tool Operational Requirements of customer-related tools  
  • Interface Specifications
  • User Manual

PikeOS Safety Technology

Learn more

Training & Consulting

Consulting: Certification Services

Learn more

Longterm Support

Training Programs

Learn more

Need more Information?

Tell us about your project and your needs.

Contact us