Mission design and analysis presents challenges in that almost all variables are in constant flux, yet the goal is to achieve an acceptable level of performance against a concept of operations, which might also be in flux. To increase responsiveness, automated planning tools are used that allow for the continual modification of spacecraft, ground system, staffing, and concept of operations, while returning metrics that are important to mission evaluation, such as area covered, peak memory usage, and peak data throughput. This approach was applied to the DESDynl mission design using the CLASP planning system, but since this adaptation, many techniques have changed under the hood for CLASP, and the DESDynl mission concept has undergone drastic changes.
The software produces mission evaluation products, such as memory highwater marks, coverage percentages, given a mission design in the form of coverage targets, concept of operations, spacecraft parameters, and orbital parameters. It tries to overcome the lack of fidelity and timeliness of mission requirements coverage analysis during mission design.
Previous techniques primarily use Excel in ad hoc fashion to approximate key factors in mission performance, often falling victim to overgeneralizations necessary in such an adaptation. The new program allows designers to faithfully represent their mission designs quickly, and get more accurate results just as quickly.