An Empirical Approach to Assess Software Off-The-Shelf Components Using Fault Injection



Rigorous verification and validation of space software systems has always been mandatory, as these systems once deployed cannot be maintained, in most cases. Additionally, due to the intrinsic criticality of this type of systems, the failure of a given component might mean the loss of the mission. Nowadays, one can observe that off-the-shelf (OTS) components (or commercial off-the-shelf - COTS) are being used in onboard space systems (e.g. operating systems, run time libraries, etc.) in order to reduce project costs. The use of OTS components in real time safety critical applications may increase the failure probability, since these components are not designed and developed for environment with strict timing and/or safety requirements. The assessment approach proposed in this paper is based on the joint use of robustness testing (interface fault injection) and a particular fault injection technique named G-SWFIT that injects realistic software faults. The proposed toolset is meant both for 1) revealing OTS components vulnerabilities, which is suitable to be used early in the system life cycle, and 2) assess the impact of component failures in the entire system, within the 1st steps of validation. An example of using the proposed approach in a satellite data handling software prototype is also presented.


Verification and validation


International Conference on Data Systems in Aerospace, DASIA 2006, May 2006

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