Fatal defects in the control system of the Ariane-5 rocket and the Mars Pathfinder have led to headlines in newspapers all over the world. To detect such flaws in an early stage of the design, the European Space Agency intends to develop techniques that assist design engineers in software tools that help the engineers to find bugs in a fully automated manner.

In this project a model-based approach to system-software co-engineering is taken, specifically tailored to critical on-board systems for the space domain. For this, the consortium develops an integrated toolset based on a newly developed modelling language.

The COMPASS Project is an international research project for developing a theoretical and technological basis for the system-software co-engineering approach focusing on a coherent set of specification and analysis techniques for evaluation of system-level correctness, safety, dependability and performability of on-board computer-based aerospace systems. These techniques shall significantly improve the reliability of modern and future space missions.


  • ESA European Space Agency
  • FBK
  • RWTH Aachen University
  • Thales Alenia Space


Stefano Tonetta