New Feature for Major Tom: Rapid Commanding

Save Time and Test Like You Fly with Rapid Commanding

Background: Test like you fly

In the aerospace industry, there is a popular phrase: “Test Like You Fly, Fly Like You Test.” At its core, it provides mission assurance and reduces integration risks by encouraging realistic testing with flight-configuration articles. However, its meaning extends beyond testing. In a broader sense, “Test Like You Fly” means treating the spacecraft like an orbiting asset as soon as it’s possible to do so. Specifically, communicate with it as you would on orbit. Develop commands, load new software, and do all debugging through a flight-ready Mission Control System. Satellites can misbehave on orbit, and the diagnosis can be difficult if you have entirely separate sets of tools and procedures between the ground and space. This can potentially cause interruptions in your value stream.

What is Rapid Commanding?

With this in mind, we created Rapid Commanding — a CLI-like interface to your satellite. Rapid Commanding allows an operator or developer to send commands quickly using the keyboard, with the help of tab completion, in-line validation, and command history. Developers and operators alike can benefit from interacting with the satellite through a flight-ready mission control system. Flight procedures, satellite responses, and most importantly the error states that a satellite experiences are learned and recognized in a context identical to that of orbit. By familiarizing themselves with the unique signatures of a satellite, your engineers and operators mitigate risk and decrease time to recovery, saving you time and money.

How do I use Rapid Commanding?

To get started with Rapid Commanding, just head to the Communications Page within Major Tom. Click the Lightning Bolt (and imagine a crack of thunder!) ⚡️ This opens a drawer from the bottom of the screen. Select your Satellite and Gateway and begin typing commands.

Tab can be used to autocomplete. The arrow keys will show you command history. Enter will send the command. 

Happy flying!

Get Started Today

Major Tom is the world’s first cloud-based mission control, focused on optimizing the value stream from space. If you are interested in using this or other features for your satellite or constellation, reach out to us here. We hope that Rapid Commanding will save you time on debugging and provide more pathways for orbital recovery. Please let us know what you think.


Michael Ricks-Aherne is the Director of Mission Control at Kubos.

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