Nebula Public Library

The knowledge bank of ESA’s R&D programmes

Test automation exchange framework

Programme Reference
Prime Contractor
Etamax Space GmbH
Start Date
End Date
The objectives of this activity are:
  • ​​​​​​​To develop a framework to support the exchange of automated tests and automated sequences compatible with testing tools commonly used by the European aerospace industry. A key enabler will be the OTX standard (ISO 13209)
  • To define procedures and processes to operate the framework in an optimal manner;
Large aerospace projects require the collaboration from many partners, which often use their own development tools and frameworks. The validation of such projects relies heavily on test automation to increase the quality and reduce the costs. Unfortunately, the automated tests developed by each partner typically only address their specific activity and rely on specific tool. Over the past few years, several frameworks to support the automated testing and validation of the different parts of a space project have been produced and deployed. Due to the highly specific nature of the aerospace solutions, these frameworks sets typically consist of purposed-made software that often builds on top of commercial and open source tools.
Each framework typically includes tools for recording information from the system under test, tools for creating and managing collection of basic test steps (building blocks), tools for assembling test sequences out of building blocks, tools for executing the tests sequences produced and tools to report the results. Although most frameworks share common characteristics, each of them targets specific aspects (e.g. tests for ground segment applications need to mimic the actions of the user while tests for procedure validation need invoke the relevant procedures via specific interfaces). Furthermore, potential collaborative work involving different tools is strongly limited by the following constraints:
  • There is no common format or methodology for exchanging information between different tool sets.
  • Parts of the tools chain and/or the building blocks produced are often subject to legal and contractual restrictions.
  • Generic guidelines and procedures to allow collaboration between frameworks do not exist.
The proposed activity aims at bridging this gap by performing the following tasks
  • Survey existing frameworks currently used by the aerospace industry for test automation with the aim to select the most interesting tools and make them part of the analysis.
  • Identify solutions for the exchange of information between tools. The most promising approach is the OTX standard (ISO 13209).
  • Extend the model as necessary to cope with future needs related to the use of AI and robotics operations.
  • Implement a prototype and validate the solutions identified in the previous task using the tools previously selected.
  • Define procedures and guidelines to support generic test automation collaboration.
Application Domain
Generic Technologies
Technology Domain
8 - System Design & Verification
9 - Mission Operation and Ground Data Systems
Competence Domain
8-Ground Systems and Mission Operations
Initial TRL
Target TRL
Achieved TRL
Public Document
Final Presentation
Executive Summary