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Alan and Carmel Brain <[log in to unmask]>
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Alan and Carmel Brain <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 16 Mar 2001 10:26:23 +1100
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It looks as if I might (stress might) be given the job of Software Team
for the Satellite Avionics of the FEDSAT project, Australia's first
 Satellite in 30 years (Hurray for us!).

Naturally it's being done on the proverbial shoestring.

Is there anyone on this list with experience in the problem domain
who can recommend some good, cheap books on the basic theory that
I can use to teach the newbies on the project? It shouldn't strictly
be neccessary, but I always like having everyone on the team to have
a reasonable basic knowledge of the theory of what we're doing, just
as an additional line of defence against stupid mistakes. So we know
our Apogee from our Perigee, what an Attitude Control System does,
how it works, how often (about) we should be triggering measurements
etc. A Gut feel for things, in other words. Right within an order of

Thank God it's being done in Ada-95, so many errors normally found in
Software ( exceeding table size etc) won't be in. But this has a
downside: we can reasonably expect the software to do exactly
what we intend it to do, and that means requirements bugs, like
the ones that killed the Mars Lander and Ariane V's first mission,
are likely to be terminal. So additional defences in this area are
Doubleplusgood. I want the most junior intern who's never seen a
satlleite before to be able to say "isn't that supposed to be in km
not ft?" if the numbers don't look right by an order of magnitude or so.
Even if - especially if - it's in an area they aren't concerned with.

I believe in being original with my mistakes - not repeating errors
others have made before.

So... is there a "Satellites for Dummies" <g> out there?