SpaceWire is a data-handling network for use on-board spacecraft, which connects together instruments, mass-memory, processors, downlink telemetry, and other on-board sub-systems. SpaceWire is simple to implement and has some specific characteristics that help it support data-handling applications in space: high-speed, low-power, simplicity, relatively low implementation cost, and architectural flexibility making it ideal for many space missions. SpaceWire provides high-speed (2 Mbits/s to 200 Mbits/s), bi-directional, full-duplex data-links, which connect together SpaceWire enabled equipment. Data-handling networks can be built to suit particular applications using point-to-point data-links and routing switches.

Since the SpaceWire standard was published in January 2003, it has been adopted by ESA, NASA, JAXA and RosCosmos for many missions and is being widely used on scientific, Earth observation, commercial and other spacecraft. High-profile missions using SpaceWire include: Gaia, ExoMars rover, Bepi-Colombo, James Webb Space Telescope, GOES-R, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Astro-H.