A Symbolic Model Checking Approach to Verifying Satellite Onboard Software

Xiang Gan, Jori Dubrovin, Keijo Heljanko


This paper discusses the use of symbolic model checking technology to verify the design of an embedded software control system called attitude and orbit control system (AOCS). This system is mission-critical because it is responsible for maintaining the attitude of the satellite and for performing fault detection, isolation, and recovery decisions of the satellite. An executable AOCS implementation by Space Systems Finland has been provided to us in Ada source code form. In order to use symbolic model checking methods, the Ada implementation of the system was modeled at a quite detailed implementation level using the input language of the symbolic model checker NuSMV 2. We describe the modeling techniques and abstractions used to alleviate the state explosion problem due to handling of timers and the large number of system components controlled by AOCS. The specification of the required system behavior was also provided to us in a form of extended state machine diagrams with prioritized transitions. These diagrams have been translated to a set of temporal logic properties, allowing the piecewise checking of the system behavior one extended state machine transition at a time. We also report on the scalability of symbolic model checking tools for the case study at hand as well as discuss potential topics for future work.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14279/tuj.eceasst.46.681

DOI (PDF): http://dx.doi.org/10.14279/tuj.eceasst.46.681.699

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