Top 10 Programming Languages that SpaceX Uses to Program Rockets

by November 24, 2022


The article presents the top 10 programming languages that SpaceX uses for its rocket system

More businesses are attempting to reach the skies as space exploration has gained popularity in recent years. Elon Musk founded SpaceX, one of the most well-known companies to explore the skies. SpaceX, founded in 2002 is an American spacecraft manufacturer, launcher, and satellite communications corporation headquartered in Hawthorne, California. SpaceX is developing a satellite internet constellation named Starlink to provide commercial internet service. There are many programming languages that SpaceX uses to function its rocket system.  Here we will discuss the top programming languages that SpaceX uses to fuel its system. In the end, you will get information regarding Musk’s SpaceX, and Rocket software and the programming language used for developing Rocket software in SpaceX. 



Python is the most popular programming language because of its built-in libraries and beginner-friendliness. Python is used by SpaceX to write the code, construct the spaceship, and then launch it into orbit. They employ a wide range of internal tools, from the most fundamental ones like NumPy and matplotlib commands to more advanced ones like the Python-based framework Django.



C is a general-purpose programming language created by Dennis Ritchie at the Bell Laboratories in 1972. It is a very popular language that is highly used in SpaceX. The flight software of SpaceX is written in both C and C++. C is strongly associated with UNIX, as it was developed to write the UNIX operating system. C is a function-driven language because C is a procedural programming language. Therefore, for advancement, when required, SpaceX uses C++ programming language.



C++ is an object-driven language because it is object-oriented programming. Dual-core x86 processors were utilized in SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, and the flight software that runs on each of these processors is written in C++. C/C++ are traditional languages that act as the foundation of several important technologies. It offers several advantages over other languages, including robust agility and faster implementation. C is a classic low-level programming language, whereas C++ is a superset of C that offers object-oriented features on top. 


Linux Operating System

The next popular programming software widely used by SpaceX is Linux Operating System. Since SpaceX uses Linux as its operating system, it enjoys all the advantages. SpaceX empowers a spacecraft with rocket fuel and Linux.



Labview is another programming platform that SpaceX uses in addition to Linux. The ground engineers utilize LabVIEW, a graphical programming environment, to command, control, and observe every launch vehicle.



Fortran programming language is best suited for scientific and numerical computation. As computation operations are much faster in this programming language so that is why it is considered one of the best programming languages that SpaceX uses to be a step ahead in the market.



MATLAB is a proprietary multi-paradigm programming language and numeric computing environment developed by MathWorks. MATLAB allows matrix manipulations, plotting of functions and data, implementation of algorithms, creation of user interfaces, and interfacing with programs written in other languages. MATLAB is mainly used to plot graphs and analyze the outcome. Further, it helps in giving a more graphical representation of the collected data from the space via MATLAB programming language.



Java is considered one of the top 10 programming languages at SpaceX. Java acts as a bridge that collates flight dynamics efficiently, while handling and developing different applications that are extracted from architecture and analytic tools to communication support.



This programming language can be used to keep track of astronauts and keep them safe on spacewalks and also help in keeping data accessible. This can be adopted for safety purposes.



The VHSIC Hardware Description Language (VHDL) is a hardware description language (HDL) that can model the behavior and structure of digital systems at multiple levels of abstraction, ranging from the system level down to that of logic gates, for design entry, documentation, and verification purposes.  This programming language is exclusively used in Attitude and Orbit Control Systems that handle the attitude and position of a complete space vehicle or satellite.

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