Running a KubOS Project on an OBC

Once you have a KubOS project set up, you’ll eventually want to test it on actual hardware.

This tutorial guides the user through the process of adding logging to a KubOS project (a crucial component when running in-flight) and then installing and running it on a target OBC.


The iOBC does not support Python. If this is the board which you are using, please refer to the Getting Started with KubOS and Rust doc to get your project built and running on the OBC.


Setting Up Logging

When our mission application is running in-flight, we likely won’t have constant access to stdout.

As a result, it would be better if we were also routing our messages to a log file. That way we can check the status of our application at our discretion.

Kubos Linux uses rsyslog to automatically route log messages to the appropriate log file and then rotate those files when they become too large.

All user applications should setup their logging to write to the user facility. This will cause all log messages to be routed to files in /home/system/log,


Log files are traditionally stored in /var/log. /var/log has been set up as a symlink to /home/system/log.

Within this directory, there may be several files:

  • app-debug.log - Records all log messages
  • app-info.log - Records log messages with a priority of info or higher
  • app-warn.log - Records log messages with a priority of warn or higher

Additionally, there may be files which match one of the above names, but are suffixed with a time stamp. For example, app-debug.log.2018.12.01-00.12.07. These are archived log files. Each log file has a maximum file size. Once this size is reached, the current file is renamed as an archive file and a new log file is started. By default, nine archive files of each log type will be retained. If a new archive file is created and there are already nine files, the oldest will be deleted.

More information about the logging infrastructure can be found in the Kubos Linux logging doc.

For ease-of-use, the Python applications API contains a helper function, logging_setup, which will make all of the system calls required in order to set up the logger for the application. All the user needs to do is specify the name of the application which should be used when generating log messages.

Logging should be setup like so:

import app_api

logger = app_api.logging_setup("mission-app")

# Write a test message"Test Message")

We’ll update all informational messages to use instead of print, and then all error messages to use logger.error.

Our resulting project code should look like this:

#!/usr/bin/env python3

import argparse
import app_api
import sys

def main():

    logger = app_api.logging_setup("my-mission-app")

    parser = argparse.ArgumentParser()

    parser.add_argument('--config', '-c')

    args = parser.parse_args()

    if args.config is not None:
        global SERVICES
        SERVICES = app_api.Services(args.config)
        SERVICES = app_api.Services()

    args = parser.parse_args()

    request = '{memInfo{available}}'

        response = SERVICES.query(service="monitor-service", query=request)
    except Exception as e:
        logger.error("Something went wrong: " + str(e))

    data = response["memInfo"]
    available = data["available"]"Current available memory: %s kB" % (available))

    request = '''
        mutation {
            insert(subsystem: "OBC", parameter: "available_mem", value: "%s") {
        ''' % (available)

        response = SERVICES.query(service="telemetry-service", query=request)
    except Exception as e:
        logger.error("Something went wrong: " + str(e))

    data = response["insert"]
    success = data["success"]
    errors = data["errors"]

    if success == False:
        logger.error("Telemetry insert encountered errors: " + str(errors))
    else:"Telemetry insert completed successfully")

if __name__ == "__main__":

Logging in to KubOS

By default, KubOS comes with a user account, kubos, with the default password Kubos123.

Log into your OBC using SSH and its configured IP address. Enter the password when prompted.

For example:

$ ssh [email protected]
[email protected]'s password: ********

If this is your first time connecting to the board via SSH, you may be prompted to confirm the target IP’s authenticity. Enter “yes” if this occurs:

$ ssh [email protected]
The authenticity of host ' (' can't be established.
ECDSA key fingerprint is SHA256:ir2TC+iML+MJ5Cb3cxTReWI69aX6EtPysFQzWleKc+8.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? yes
Warning: Permanently added '' (ECDSA) to the list of known hosts.
[email protected]'s password: ********

Please confirm that you are able to connect to the board via SSH from you development environment before proceeding with the next step. If you are unable to do so, please verify that your OBC’s network connection has been successfully configured and activated.

Once you are logged in to the OBC, you can use the exit command to end the SSH connection and return to your host computer.

Transferring the Project to a Target OBC

We can now transfer the project to the kubos user home directory on the target OBC using SCP. From your local command line, run the following (be sure to replace with your OBC’s IP address):

$ scp [email protected]:/home/kubos
[email protected]'s password: ********                                     100% 1814     1.8KB/s   00:00

Running the Project on the Target OBC

Once the project has been transferred, we can log in to the OBC and run it:

$ ssh [email protected]
[email protected]'s password: ********
/home/kubos # ./
my-mission-app: Current available memory: 497060 kB
my-mission-app: Telemetry insert completed successfully
/home/kubos # cat /var/log/app-debug.log
1970-01-01T03:23:13.246358+00:00 Kubos my-mission-app:<info> Current available memory: 497060 kB
1970-01-01T03:23:13.867534+00:00 Kubos my-mission-app:<info> Telemetry insert completed successfully