Kubos will partner with Ruag Space, offering its KubOS software in combination with Ruag's comouting hardware for megaconstellation developers. Credit: Kubos

ATLANTA — Open source spacecraft software developer Kubos is working with Ruag Space to offer high-performance and scalable computer systems to meet the growing demands of satellite megaconstellations.

The two companies announced July 31 an agreement to work together to offer constellation developers “ready-to-fly” computer systems, with Kubos providing its KubOS operating system and Ruag Space its satellite computing hardware.

The companies believe that, by joining forces, they will be able to provide spacecraft computer systems that are reliable and affordable but can also be produced at scale, meeting the needs of both commercial and government satellite constellations.

“Customers have come to know and expect reliable systems from Ruag Space, but the challenge we face as an industry is producing the same reliable systems at scale and at a level that makes them affordable for a megaconstellation,” Peter Guggenbach, chief executive of Ruag Space, said in a statement. “To accomplish this requires strategic partners, particularly in software.”

The agreement allows Kubos to move upmarket. The company has built up a following among nanosatellite developers, with more than 500 users of KubOS, which the company says is the largest open-source software community in the space industry. The company now wants to leverage that software, and community of users, for larger satellites and bigger customers.

“KubOS is the Android of space systems,” said Marshall Culpepper, chief executive of Kubos, referencing Google’s Android operating system for smartphones. “By combining it with a wide range of powerful hardware platforms, it can bring incredible value to its end users.”

He said he sees the agreement with Ruag to use his company’s software for larger satellite systems as part of a broader trend in the computing industry of leveraging the growing capabilities of open source software.

“The collaboration of large successful aerospace firms with innovative software companies is going to be an unstoppable trend as more large constellations are planned and launched into orbit,” he said. “The underlying truth for those applications is that they need both flexible software and reliable hardware, just the same as our day-to-day computing needs down on Earth.”

The two companies will formally sign a memorandum of understanding about their cooperative effort at the annual Conference on Small Satellites at Utah State University Aug. 5.

Jeff Foust writes about space policy, commercial space, and related topics for SpaceNews. He earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree with honors in geophysics and planetary science...