JavaScript in Space: SpaceX Devs Have Shared CrewDragon’s Tech Stack

The software engineering team of SpaceX company has entered the Reddit to answer the most relevant user questions and opening up about the technology stack of CrewDragon. Who would have thought that JavaScript will enter an open space literally? Learn more in our latest blog post.

SpaceX’s historic CrewDragon has successfully launched into space on Saturday the 30th of May. The whole world had to hold their breath while watching the iconic moment of humanity coming into the new are of space flights.

The Crew Dragon launched astronauts from the United States for the first time since the last Shuttle flight in 2011. However, the shuttle itself completely differs from what we have ever had in the past.

Spaceflight had always been the fundamental goal for his pioneering company SpaceX.

Elon Musk

The whole world is buzzing about the successful launch of the astronauts from their homeland. All the people involved in it, and especially software engineers became heroes for the United States. And as a team of software engineers ourselves, we are especially proud of one of them, who is Ukrainian — Oleksii Pakhunov, who played an important role in the software development of SpaceX projects.

After the Crew Dragon Demo-2 successful launch, a group of SpaceX software engineers posted on Reddit to answer the most thrilling questions of the platform’s users.

spacex rocket with javascript touchscreens

To be exact, the questions were answered by:

  • Jeff Dexter – Flight Software and Cybersecurity engineer at SpaceX
  • Josh Sulkin – the software design lead for Crew Dragon
  • Wendy Shimata – Crew Dragon’s software team manager, who also worked on fault tolerance and safety of Dragon
  • John Dietrick – Software Development Lead on Demo-2
  • Sofian Hnaide – Crew Displays software engineer on Demo-2
  • Matt Monson – Crew Dragon’s software engineer, who’s now a lead Starlink software engineer

The users of Reddit asked the team dozens of questions, revealing some previously unknown information. The Q&A session with the software engineer revealed many interesting details about Starlink, Crew Dragon, and other SpaceX projects.

Turns out that all software for the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon spaceships is running on C++. Space X engineers are using object-oriented programming methodology (OOP). which is a programming paradigm based on the concept of “objects”, which can contain data, in the form of fields (often known as attributes or properties), and code, in the form of procedures (often known as methods).

Still, the most interesting part that caught our eyes is the UI part of the spaceships. If you are not aware of the Crew Dragon spaceship’s user interface, the pilots are using three large touchscreen panels, instead of a famous maze of manual controls.
The Reddit users have also asked the development team about the touchscreens code base and development process.

crew dragon javascript-based touchscreens

Surprisingly, the famous touchscreen interface is running on Chromium and is being fully written on JavaScript. JavaScript is a scripting language, internally designed to be used to create and control dynamic website content, i.e. The answer of SpaceX engineers has surprised many of the users, as no one expected to see a web development technology running on a spaceship in an open space.

We liked all the modern features that come with browsers out of the box

Hnaide said during the AMA, adding that Chromium gave SpaceX access to lots of programmers already skilled with the technology.

 The development team has used a self-written JavaScript library for the creation of UI components on the touchscreen. The engineers have designated that their team uses open-source libraries only as a last resort in case of any urgent needs, because of the quality control considerations.

javascript crew dragon

Who would have thought, that SpaceX rockets fly with the software, that you can find on your Android phone? The SpaceX engineers have shown to the rest of the world that a web application, which was written in JavaScript and HTML, just like millions of websites here, on our Earth, can successfully run in an open space, showing the astronauts what they need to see while piloting a spacecraft.

That is clear evidence that you can use JavaScript to run important software on which people’s lives highly depend. This brings us to a certainty that there is no chance that Javascript will lose its position as the most used programming language in the world.

Looking for some more exciting content? Check out our other articles with some insights from a software development industry world:
Grammarly – the most successful Ukrainian startup in 2019

Or maybe you are looking for a passionate team of JavaScript engineers yourself? Our team is ready to take responsibility for both the quality, budget, and timeliness of the product delivery.

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