Picard Mission Centre

Picard Mission ©CNES


The Picard mission is dedicated to the study of the Earth’ climate and Sun variability relationship.

It encompasses precise measurements of the Sun’s diameter and irradiance and deeper probing into its inner structure. The Scientific Mission Centre is in charge of programming the instruments on board the spacecraft, processing and disseminating the associated measurement data.

SPACEBEL was awarded the Mission Centre contract with CNES.


The challenging aspects of this project sounded like everyday life issues in high-tech projects, such as meeting the budget, dealing with evolving user needs and delivering quality on time.

SPACEBEL proposed solutions based on the re-use of existing software modules, the use of a language allowing an efficient implementation, and a versioning delivery process.


The solution included the re-use of an existing Scheduler and on COTS for the web server. The development was performed using the Python language for which high level libraries were available and JAVA for the web server. UML was used in the preliminary design to support the design of complex components identified in the architecture. Customer’ standards were flexibly applied depending on the complexity and the criticality of each component. Components were either fully developed by SPACEBEL or primarily constituted by CFI code (scientist processing) then enhanced, optimized and integrated into the host structures. Traceability matrices were automatically generated using an in-house tool.

The automation concept is directly derived from the automatic pass management of the PROBA-2 micro-satellite program.

The thigh schedule has been managed by taking benefit of the output of each phase. A prototype of the Mission Center man-machine interface has been developed during the specification activity and re-used as such in the production. The software versioning revealed efficient to cope with both the iterative user requirements process and the system validation constraints.