Spacecraft control languages

Mathematical support and software


Kosmynina N. A.

Compani «Information satellite systems of academician M.F. Reshetnev», 52, Lenin str., Zheleznogorsk, Krasnoyarsk region, 662972, Russia



Logical set of control actions to be uploaded on-board a spacecraft to implement a singular control task is called a management procedure.

Problem-oriented languages allow define a management procedure as a script and run it during communication sessions with a spacecraft in automated mode for an unlimited number of times.

All control languages support execution of the following tasks: instruction issue to the spacecraft, setting proper time delays, different conditional tests, and several other operations, such as printing a message to an operator. Recommended functional tasks that should be supported by any control language are described in the following documents: Standard ECSS-E-ST-70-32C: Test and Operations Procedure Language (PLUTO); OMG SOLM specification.

Examples of existing control languages are Python, PLUTO, CSL, JOTR, STOL, TAO, CSTOL, CCL, JAS, ICL, Btscript, Cecil, CIL, TOPE/tcl, UCL, Elisa, PIL, etc.

As for control languages, there are no general tendencies: control languages can be general- and special-purpose, object-oriented and procedural, control scripts can be implemented sequentially and simultaneously, on the basis of priority, scripts can be run upon operator command and automatically, after reaching preset time and conditions.

The great majority of existing control languages aroused the problem of portability, when already designed and tested set of control procedures can not be used to control the spacecraft after control handover from one control center to another, without installing new control software and learning both new control software and control language. As a solution to the problem described, the new software was developed allowing translate control procedure texts from one control language to the other.


spacecraft control, spacecraft control languages


  1. Solov’jov V.A., Lysenko L.N., Ljubinskij V.E., Upravlenie kosmicheskimi poljotami (Space flight control), Moscow, MGTU im. N.Je. Baumana, 2009, 902p.

  2. «European Space Agency Standart ECSS-E-ST-70-32C Space engineering Test and operations procedure language», available at:

  3. «Satellite Operations Language Metamodel (SOLM)», available at:

  4. «Use of the ground support equipment operating system (GSEOS) software on the messenger mission: a case study», available at:

  5. «21st century operational procedure automation with Python and autofly. Lessons learned from migrating legacy systems and developing new ones», available at:

  6. Seymour M., «The PLUTO operations procedure language and its use for RADARSAT-2 mission operations», available at:

  7. «Use of Spacecraft Command Language for Advanced Command and Control Applications», available at:

  8. «Flight Software — SCL for Flight Systems», available at:

  9. «Spacecraft control system Development», available at:

  10. «Using ARES to Improve Efficiency in Satellite Operations», available at:

  11. AMOS5-PR-75000-ISS-00239 «AMOS-5» satellite. Rukovodstvo po ekspluatatsii TsUP. Chast’ 2. Planirovanie i komandno-programmnoe obespechenie, (Command Center Service Manual. Part 2. Planning and Command software), Zhelezhnogorsk, JSC «ISS», 2011, 212 p.

  12. «A Model for a Spacecraft Operations Language», available at:

  13. Reid S., «European Technology Harmonisation on Command Procedures», available at:, 2010

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