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Precise and Scalable Static Program Analysis of NASA Flight Software

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2 Author(s)
G. Brat ; Kestrel Technology NASA Ames Research Center, MS 269/2 Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000, 650-604-1105, brat@email.arc.nasa.gov ; A. Venet

Recent NASA mission failures (e.g., Mars Polar Lander and Mars Orbiter) illustrate the importance of having an efficient verification and validation process for such systems. One software error, as simple as it may be, can cause the loss of an expensive mission, or lead to budget overruns and crunched schedules. Unfortunately, traditional verification methods cannot guarantee the absence of errors in software systems. Therefore, we have developed the CGS static program analysis tool, which can exhaustively analyze large C programs. CGS analyzes the source code and identifies statements in which arrays are accessed out of bounds, or, pointers are used outside the memory region they should address. This paper gives a high-level description of CGS and its theoretical foundations. It also reports on the use of CGS on real NASA software systems used in Mars missions (from Mars PathFinder to Mars Exploration Rover) and on the International Space Station

Published in:

2005 IEEE Aerospace Conference

Date of Conference:

5-12 March 2005