Flight and Ground Software

Flight software provides the spacecraft with embedded, intelligent, real-time instructions to execute various spacecraft activities. APL’s flight software developers create and implement complex algorithms to collect and interpret payload data, assess system health and coordinate or command other subsystems or activities. Embedded software engineers develop real-time testbed software to test thousands of coordinated inputs to flight algorithms on the ground to ensure the success of the mission. 

The ground software team provides the complex information system that enables the successful implementation, integration and operation of a spacecraft and its mission. Our software systems span the entire space mission life cycle, and our team serves in critical roles as developers, trusted agents, and technical advisors. Both flight and ground software components are essential not only to overall mission success but also to enhancing data collection, improving science return and the understanding of results. 


APL has designed, built and operated more than 70 innovative spacecraft over its six decades of spaceflight experience. Click below to learn about some of the missions that made revolutionary discoveries, and spacecraft that will push the boundaries of exploration and investigate outstanding scientific mysteries.


Scientists and engineers at APL have designed, built and operated more than 300 novel space instruments and methods to conduct cutting-edge research and make groundbreaking discoveries. Click below to learn about some of these instruments and their role in shaping our understanding of space and the solar system.


Go inside APL’s space missions and research, and check out the latest news, features and discoveries from the teams that are probing mysteries from the Sun to the edge of the solar system and beyond.