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Simulating Operations at a Spaceport

SPACESIM is a computer program for detailed simulation of operations at a spaceport. SPACESIM is being developed to greatly improve existing spaceports and to aid in designing, building, and operating future spaceports, given that there is a worldwide trend in spaceport operations from very expensive, research-oriented launches to more frequent commercial launches. From an operational perspective, future spaceports are expected to resemble current airports and seaports, for which it is necessary to resolve issues of safety, security, efficient movement of machinery and people, cost effectiveness, timeliness, and maximizing effectiveness in utilization of resources.

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Knowledge Base Editor (SharpKBE)

The SharpKBE software provides a graphical user interface environment for domain experts to build and manage knowledge base systems. Knowledge bases can be exported/translated to various target languages automatically, including customizable target languages. The tool enhances current practices by minimizing reliance on toolsmiths for system workflow management, and also improves the quality and maintenance of those systems by reducing the number of errors within the knowledge bases. This tool’s primary capability is in the area of expert systems modeling, specifically where there is a need to capture and efficiently manage large quantities of domain information (see figure).

Posted in: Software, Briefs, TSP

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Grid Task Execution

IPG Execution Service is a framework that reliably executes complex jobs on a computational grid, and is part of the IPG service architecture designed to support location-independent computing. The new grid service enables users to describe the platform on which they need a job to run, which allows the service to locate the desired platform, configure it for the required application, and execute the job. After a job is submitted, users can monitor it through periodic notifications, or through queries.

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Mapped Landmark Algorithm for Precision Landing

A report discusses a computer vision algorithm for position estimation to enable precision landing during planetary descent. The Descent Image Motion Estimation System for the Mars Exploration Rovers has been used as a starting point for creating code for precision, terrain-relative navigation during planetary landing. The algorithm is designed to be general because it handles images taken at different scales and resolutions relative to the map, and can produce mapped landmark matches for any planetary terrain of sufficient texture. These matches provide a measurement of horizontal position relative to a known landing site specified on the surface map. Multiple mapped landmarks generated per image allow for automatic detection and elimination of bad matches. Attitude and position can be generated from each image; this image-based attitude measurement can be used by the onboard navigation filter to improve the attitude estimate, which will improve the position estimates.

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Web-Based Environment for Maintaining Legacy Software

“Advanced Tool Integration Environment” (“ATIE”) is the name of both a software system and a Web-based environment created by the system for maintaining an archive of legacy software and expertise involved in developing the legacy software. ATIE can also be used in modifying legacy software and developing new software. The information that can be encapsulated in ATIE includes experts’ documentation, input and output data of tests cases, source code, and compilation scripts. All of this information is available within a common environment and retained in a database for ease of access and recovery by use of powerful search engines. ATIE also accommodates the embedment of supporting software that users require for their work, and even enables access to supporting commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software within the flow of the experts’ work.

Posted in: Software, Briefs, TSP

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Parallel-Processing Software for Correlating Stereo Images

A computer program implements parallel-processing algorithms for correlating images of terrain acquired by stereoscopic pairs of digital stereo cameras on an exploratory robotic vehicle (e.g., a Mars rover). Such correlations are used to create three-dimensional computational models of the terrain for navigation. In this program, the scene viewed by the cameras is segmented into subimages. Each subimage is assigned to one of a number of central processing units (CPUs) operating simultaneously. Because each subimage is smaller than a full image, the correlation process takes less time than it would if full images were processed on one CPU. Segmentation and parallelization also make the process more robust in that the smaller subimages present fewer opportunities for a correlation algorithm to “get lost” and thereby fail to converge on a solution. The effectiveness of this program has been demonstrated on several parallel- processing computer systems. Whereas correlation processing of a typical stereoscopic pair of test images on a single CPU was found to take on the order of one hour, parallel processing of the same images on a 16-CPU cluster was found to take about 3 minutes. This program was written by Gerhard Klimeck, Robert Deen, Michael Mcauley, and Eric De Jong of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Karina Edmonds of the California Institute of Technology at (626) 395-2322. Refer to NPO-30631.

Posted in: Software, Briefs

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Parallel-Processing Software for Correlating Stereo Images

A computer program implements parallel-processing algorithms for correlating images of terrain acquired by stereoscopic pairs of digital stereo cameras on an exploratory robotic vehicle (e.g., a Mars rover). Such correlations are used to create three-dimensional computational models of the terrain for navigation. In this program, the scene viewed by the cameras is segmented into subimages. Each subimage is assigned to one of a number of central processing units (CPUs) operating simultaneously. Because each subimage is smaller than a full image, the correlation process takes less time than it would if full images were processed on one CPU. Segmentation and parallelization also make the process more robust in that the smaller subimages present fewer opportunities for a correlation algorithm to “get lost” and thereby fail to converge on a solution. The effectiveness of this program has been demonstrated on several parallel- processing computer systems. Whereas correlation processing of a typical stereoscopic pair of test images on a single CPU was found to take on the order of one hour, parallel processing of the same images on a 16-CPU cluster was found to take about 3 minutes. This program was written by Gerhard Klimeck, Robert Deen, Michael Mcauley, and Eric De Jong of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Karina Edmonds of the California Institute of Technology at (626) 395-2322. Refer to NPO-30631.

Posted in: Software, Briefs

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