F6COM: A component model for resource-constrained and dynamic space-based computing environments


Component-based programming models are well-suited to the design of large-scale, distributed applications because of the ease with which distributed functionality can be developed, deployed, and validated using the models’ compositional properties. Existing component models supported by standardized technologies, such as the OMG’s CORBA Component Model (CCM), however, incur a number of limitations in the context of cyber physical systems (CPS) that operate in highly dynamic, resource-constrained, and uncertain environments, such as space environments, yet require multiple quality of service (QoS) assurances, such as timeliness, reliability, and security. To overcome these limitations, this paper presents the design of a novel component model called F6COM that is developed for applications operating in the context of a cluster of fractionated spacecraft. Although F6COM leverages the compositional capabilities and port abstractions of existing component models, it provides several new features. Specifically, F6COM abstracts the component operations as tasks, which are scheduled sequentially based on a specified scheduling policy. The infrastructure ensures that at any time at most one task of a component can be active - eliminating race conditions and deadlocks without requiring complicated and error-prone synchronization logic to be written by the component developer. These tasks can be initiated due to (a) interactions with other components, (b) expiration of timers, both sporadic and periodic, and (c) interactions with input/output devices. Interactions with other components are facilitated by ports. To ensure secure information flows, every port of an F6COM component is associated with a security label such that all interactions are executed within a security context. Thus, all component interactions can be subjected to Mandatory Access Control checks by a Trusted Computing Base that facilitates the interactions. Finally, F6COM provides capabilities to monitor task execution deadlines and to configure component-specific fault mitigation actions.

16th IEEE International Symposium on Object/Component/Service-Oriented Real-Time Distributed Computing, ISORC 2013, Paderborn, Germany, June 19-21, 2013