OMD Releases Space Telecommunications Interface Specification

March 10, 2021

The Object Management Group released a beta version of the Space Telecommunications Interface (STI) specification. Based on OMG's Systems Modeling Language® (SysML®), the new specification establishes an open architecture for space and ground software-defined radios (SDRs) for space and navigation communications systems.

"Many space projects either use hardware radios that cannot be modified once deployed, or SDRs that depend on the radio provider and involve significant effort to add new applications," said Steve MacLaird, SVP, Government & Industry Strategy, Object Management Group. "Software-based SDRs enable advanced operations that reduce mission life-cycle costs for space or ground platforms. OMG's systems modeling language SysML was chosen as the foundation of the STI specification because it allows engineers and program managers to use an open, modular approach as they develop SDRs."

The STI specification identifies the data types, application programming interface, and associated operational patterns that compliant SDR platforms are required to implement. A common programming interface enables portability of SDR applications between radio-platform providers, and a metamodel for a hardware/software architecture (rather than a specific SDR implementation), ensures adaptability to a wide variety of platforms and applications.

Parallel and independent software and platform development allows software to be modified late in the development process or after deployment, enabling new requirement updates or bug fixes. Dependence on a single SDR provider is reduced by separating application development from hardware platform development.

The beta version of the STI is freely available to the public. The final STI specification is expected by the end of the year and will also be available to the public at no cost.

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