Linux in space – new satellite eyes up open source OS

Linux may be an operating system synonymous with a flightless bird, but if some Sydney research students have their way, it could be orbiting the earth controlling a space satellite within two years.

The Bluesat microsatellite is a joint project of the Mechanical, Electrical, Telecommunications, and Computer Systems engineering departments at the University of New South Wales. The students have spent several years designing a 10-kilogram microsatellite, including its structure and flight computer.

The project’s chief technical officer, Ashley Butterworth, said he is unaware that there is any Linux in space, adding that most amateur radio satellites are too small to have a computer. “What we’ve got is fairly powerful for a satellite computer so we may put Linux in space,” Butterworth said.