Automated Performance Characterization of DSN System Frequency Stability Using Spacecraft Tracking Data
- Tuesday, 01 May 2012
This software provides an automated capability to measure and qualify the frequency stability performance of the Deep Space Network (DSN) ground system, using daily spacecraft tracking data. The results help to verify if the DSN performance is meeting its specification, therefore ensuring commitments to flight missions; in particular, the radio science investigations. The rich set of data also helps the DSN Operations and Maintenance team to identify the trends and patterns, allowing them to identify the antennas of lower performance and implement corrective action in a timely manner.Unlike the traditional approach where the performance can only be obtained from special calibration sessions that are both time-consuming and require manual setup, the new method taps into the daily spacecraft tracking data. This new approach significantly increases the amount of data available for analysis, roughly by two orders of magnitude, making it possible to conduct trend analysis with good confidence.
The software is built with automation in mind for end-to-end processing. From the inputs gathering to computation analysis and later data visualization of the results, all steps are done automatically, making the data production at near zero cost. This allows the limited engineering resource to focus on highlevel assessment and to follow up with the exceptions/deviations.
To make it possible to process the continual stream of daily incoming data without much effort, and to understand the results quickly, the processing needs to be automated and the data summarized at a high level. Special attention needs to be given to data gathering, input validation, handling anomalous conditions, computation, and presenting the results in a visual form that makes it easy to spot items of exception/ deviation so that further analysis can be directed and corrective actions followed.