The development of satellites is always driven by their applications, so the payload and its satellite infrastructure can fulfill all envisioned tasks and sometimes this is under great autonomy. The brain of the satellite is the Onboard Computer with the Onboard Software providing functions, procedures and services in preparation for the different tasks. Lastly Spacecraft Operations will succeed only when the Space and Ground Segment are interlinked optimally through appropriate data handling and management concepts.
There are many examples where the flexibility of the spacecraft’s operation system determined failure or success of a mission. Completely unexpected mission scenarios or onboard failures are common situations for science and exploration satellites especially. Communication satellites also profit from the reliability and flexibility of the onboard systems as the spectacular recovery of the European Artemis satellite demonstrated in 2003 when Artemis could be repositioned in its correct orbit after 18 months of recovery activities. Also new rules avoiding space debris and for deorbiting satellites at the end of their life call for very robust and flexible onboard computer systems to ensure full operational capability at the end of satellite lifetime when some components like gyros might have already failed.
This book entitled "Onboard Computers, Onboard Software and Spacecraft Operations – An Introduction" covers in a broad yet detailed way the important aspects for satellite development and operation. To our knowledge it is the first book completely covering the whole subject including particularly subtopic interdependencies. It is a result of a manuscript which has been used and consistently taught as an examined lecture series at the University of Stuttgart for several years. The book is equally applicable for students as well as experts of many engineering disciplines. It is suitable for an introductory course as well as a reference text in modern system engineering.