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The authors describe a certification approach for software development that has been adopted at their organization. JPL develops robotic spacecraft for the exploration of the solar system. The flight software that controls these spacecraft is considered to be mission critical. They argue that the goal of a software certification process cannot be the development of "Perfect" software, i.e., software that can be formally proven to be correct under all imaginable and unimaginable circumstances. More realistically, the goal is to guarantee a software development process that is conducted by knowledgeable engineers, who follow generally accepted procedures to control known risks, while meeting agreed upon standards of workmanship.
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