Lero - the Irish Software Research Centre at the University of Limerick has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) for the implementation of a research programme worth €400,000. The 18 month programme, which will be led by Lero Director Prof. Mike Hinchey, will commence this month.
Lero will collaborate with chip manufacturer Cobham Gaisler AB of Gothenburg, Sweden on the software behind specialist microchips to be used in European space missions. The Cobham Gaisler LEON radiation hardened microchip, which was developed in association with the European Space Agency, is designed to operate in harsh environments such as space.
Lero researchers based at the University of Limerick will work on a new back end for the Open Source LLVM compiler library to enable it to be used for the LEON chip family. This is designed to expand the toolset available to developers working on the flight software for future European space missions in order to boost reliability. This is the third and largest contract awarded in recent years by the European Space Agency to Lero, which is backed by Science Foundation Ireland.
“We are honoured to be selected for this important work,” commented Prof Mike Hinchey, Director, Lero. “Software designed for space missions needs to be leading edge and highly reliable in view of the cost, distance and unforgiving environment involved.”
Before heading up Lero, Prof. Hinchey was Director of the Software Engineering Laboratory at NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland. He remains a consultant to NASA.
Lero (www.lero.ie) is a global leader in software engineering research. It combines the best in Irish software talent by bringing together researchers from Dublin City University, Dundalk Institute of Technology, NUI Galway, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin and University of Limerick. It is funded by Science Foundation Ireland as well as by contracts from Irish and international technology corporations.
ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.
ESA has 20 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 18 are Member States of the EU. Two other Member States of the EU, Hungary and Estonia, are likely soon to become new ESA Member States.
ESA has Cooperation Agreements with six other Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.
ESA is also working with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes. By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.
ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities. Today, it develops and launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space.
Learn more about ESA at www.esa.int