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Programming languages for aerospace

  1. May 27, 2015 #1
    It seems alot of stuff done for aerospace is in C/C++ or Python. Both of these are a few decades old now, and they seem to still dominate in the industry. I know that ESA has plans to start using Java, but what other current programming languages do you think would be viable options for use in aerospace?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 27, 2015 #2


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    C and C++ are not going to go away any time soon. They are too useful and too important. Maybe julia will gain popularity, but who knows?
  4. May 27, 2015 #3
    I wouldnt expect them too, with how ingrained and wide-spread they are in the industry. But is there any limitations to using them? Using something designed 40 years ago for modern tech just seems....weird.
  5. May 29, 2015 #4


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    There is a difference between code for engineering analysis versus code for operational flight programs (OFPs) that run on the plane.

    The strict testing and development process requirements for OFPs severely limit the languages that can be used. So does the fact that OFPs run on a small subset of hardware and operating systems that only offer selected language compilers. C is common for OFPs. There are also a smaller number of Ada and C++ OFP programs. I am not aware of any Python or Java OFP code. A growing trend is to use design tools (often graphical) that auto-generate code. There is a lot of auto-generated C and C++ OFP code.

    For engineering analysis, the design tools can have a variety of languages. You should remember that many algorithms might end up in an OFP and having them in an acceptable OFP language is a great benefit. There is a lot of Python and Java code in the analysis tools that are guaranteed to not become OFP algorithms.
  6. May 29, 2015 #5

    Dr Transport

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    C++ and legacy FORTRAN are the major languages in aerospace. I have some groups who use Perl and the occasional person who uses python. We have shied away from java in my particular group, it is too slow.
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