Lessons from space

Diomidis Spinellis*, Henry Spencer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientific

1 Citation (Scopus)


Given the parallels between the complexity of human spaceflight and large software systems, there are many things we developers can learn from successful space programs, such as the Soyuz. First, limiting a project's scope and complexity early on can have a dramatic payoff in its success and longevity. In addition, adding generous margins to early estimates (and any subsequent revisions) will ease the pain of development and deployment. Furthermore, gradual evolution with a working program at each step, rather than massive rewrites, benefits from successful architectures and teams, while also retaining the software's customer base and third-party contributors. Finally, a well-defined modular structure can increase the software's versatility yielding economies of scope and scale over its lifetime.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6055660
Pages (from-to)26-28
Number of pages3
JournalIEEE Software
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • agility
  • agradual improvement
  • estimation techniques
  • modularity
  • Pareto's law
  • safety margins
  • Soyuz
  • Space Shuttle

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