Swedish Space Corporation (SSC)
I wouldn’t want to change Perforce Helix to any other version control tool.”
Systems Engineer, Swedish Space Corporation
About the Swedish Space Corporation
- The Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) provides technology and services required to implement and manage advanced space projects. The SSC works with organizations including ESA (European Space Agency), CNES (France), the DLR (Germany), JAXA (Japan) and NASA.
- The Science Services division, part of the SSC, launches sounding rockets and high-altitude or stratospheric balloons from Esrange Space Center in Sweden.
- To provide a sense of the scale of the organization’s work: by November 2015, there had been more than ten rocket launches that year. The stratospheric balloons are also an important part of the Corporation’s work, able to lift payloads of several tonnes up to 40 km altitude.
Ensuring the Public Safety During Launches
Software is at the heart of the work carried out by the SSC’s Sciences Services team, ensuring reliable, predictable and safe launches of rockets and balloons through the development and delivery of ground control, analysis, and monitoring software.
Johan Nilsson, Systems Engineer with the Science Services team, provides an example: “One of the most recent projects has been ‘wind-weighting,’ which is all about the accurate assessment of the impact of current wind conditions to reliably predict the best launch direction for a sounding rocket.”
More than ten years ago, after a thorough evaluation of currently available SCM tools, the SSC chose Perforce for the following reasons:
- Ability to integrate well into a variety of environments, including OpenVMS, Windows and Linux
- Stability and speed
- Simple administration
- Strong support. According to Nilsson: “Support from Perforce has been very good, I would recommend it.”
- Support for easier branching and merging, with a clear view of the history of changes
Over the years requirements at the SSC have expanded and Helix has grown with the organization:
- Support for component-based development
- Support for working offline in a controlled way
- Distributed version control (DVCS) functionality
Perforce Helix in Action
Today, Helix is used by a 10-strong team of developers at SSC Science Services. The team applies continuous integration practices for many applications, including its wind-weighting application. During active development of these products the Science Services team averages one release per month, with artifacts and builds kept separately.
- Projects are typically carried out by up to three team members. Repository size is typically in the range of tens of megabytes, consisting primarily of source code, with some precompiled components added.
- Helix works alongside Eclipse, Visual Studio, MSBuild and Jenkins, plus JIRA for bug-tracking. These are all tools with which Perforce Helix integrates well.
- The Science Services team is currently adopting the use of Perforce Helix in distributed mode. According to Nilsson: "We needed support when working offline. It’s pretty early days for our use of DVCS but I like it and also find it the easiest way to set up workspaces.”
- Perforce gives the Science Services team the ability to deliver often complex software to support “mission-critical” projects carried out by the Swedish Space Corporation.
- The features within Perforce support efficient collaboration between team members with flexible, centralized and distributed functionality. This helps the team to meet deadlines and project goals.
“We’ve not had any performance problems and software from Perforce is very stable – our Helix server hasn’t experienced a crash since its introduction here 12 years ago.”