Open Mission Control Technologies (Open MCT) Web

The fundamental idea behind the Mission Control Technologies (MCT) project is to build software from pieces that can be assembled by end users to create integrated visualizations. Applications are eliminated in favor of compositions of live data objects that can be combined in different ways for different users and missions as required, in contrast to the more traditional software development method of pre-determining functionality and building a monolithic application. This new approach has the potential to change how users design, deploy, and maintain mission system software.

Posted in: Briefs, Software
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Human Factors Analysis Support Tool (H-FAST) v 2.0

Large-scale systems engineering projects involve multiple teams of engineers working in parallel. These projects typically include numerous human factors challenges, many of which first become evident during the integration stage. Human factors evaluations are essential in gathering human performance data and analyzing the usability of new design concepts. These evaluations are generally carried out by human factors experts due to the level of expertise required. However, many projects may not have a dedicated human factors expert available for consultation throughout all design phases. In these cases, non-human-factors engineers could derive value from a tool that locates relevant human factors design resources, and guides them through conducting simpler, formative human factors evaluations to gather feedback earlier in the process. The challenge for the design engineer is in finding the appropriate human factors design guidance relevant to a specific project.

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RAYGUN Fast Generic Geometry Raycasting Tool

When performing spacecraft simulations, developers sometimes need to feed the simulation with a distance between two objects along a certain direction vector. For example, if a spacecraft is approaching an asteroid and needs to simulate a laser rangefinder, the simulation would need to detect what part of the asteroid the laser would intersect, and then calculate the distance from the rangefinder to the surface. For an asteroid with a very complex geometry, the search for the intersecting triangle can be very costly in terms of compute time. This scenario presented itself with the MMSEV spacecraft simulation approaching the asteroid “Itokawa.”

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iOrca Code Release

The iOrca outlier detection algorithm is based on the K-nearest neighbors approach. It calculates the distances across the dataset to determine if data points are near or far away from their set of neighbors. If a point has an unusually large distance to its neighbors, it is considered an outlier and of interest to the user. Calculating the full set of distances is computationally expensive.

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LTAS Source Slaving Selector (LS3) Analyzer

The objective of the Launch Trajectory Acquisition System (LTAS) Source Slaving Selector (LS3) Analyzer application is to convert recorded data files — which are generated by the LTAS Source Slaving Selector (LS3) application in binary format — to human-readable text files as per a variety of options set by the user via a graphical user interface (GUI).

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Representation and Analysis of System Behavior Using Monotonic Signals

NASA has developed a new method for analyzing complex system behavior that also may be viewed as a type of data visualization and decision support tool. Large complex control systems may have thousands or even millions of sensors, each providing some type of signal that ultimately integrates into a larger organization. For each signal, behavior is represented by a sequence of pairs, with each pair containing a change value (monotonic) and a time interval length over which each of these changes occurs. Signal amplitudes and first derivatives serve as markers for these time intervals. This approach permits a finer scale characterization of the signal(s). The novelty of this approach is in using human visual interpretation in combination with computer signal analysis to monitor the behavior of complex systems in an enhanced manner.

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Interface Simplifies Remote Robot Operation

Georgia Institute of Technology researchers created a new interface to remotely control robots that is much simpler and more efficient than current techniques. The user simply points and clicks on an item, then chooses a grasp. The robot does the rest of the work.

The traditional interface for remotely operating robots employs a computer screen and mouse to independently control six degrees of freedom, turning three virtual rings and adjusting arrows to get the robot into position to grab items or perform a specific task. But for someone who isn’t an expert, the ring-and-arrow system is cumbersome and error-prone. It’s not ideal, for example, for older people trying to control assistive robots at home.

Posted in: News, Motion Control, Robotics, Software
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AMMOS Common Access Manager (CAM)

The Common Access Manager (CAM) software was developed to control access to functions and data for mission control, telemetry, tracking, instrument data, and other ground data system capabilities. The CAM software is used by Advanced Multi-Mission Operations System (AMMOS) and Deep Space Network (DSN) subsystems, and is available for use in any NASA-funded mission.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Computer software and hardware, Flight control systems, Data management, Logistics
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Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines

A multidisciplinary design analysis and optimization (MDAO) solution leverages existing analysis codes to streamline optimization tasks early in the design process.

When tackling modern engineering projects, designers must consider not only engineering parameters, but also such key factors as cost, safety, and environmental impact. To exploit the interactions of these various elements, designers must consider them simultaneously. Unfortunately, doing so significantly increases project complexity.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Design processes, Optimization, Systems engineering, Automation
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Aviation Environmental Design Tool (AEDT)

The Federal Aviation Administration's Aviation Environmental Design Tool (AEDT) is a software system that dynamically models aircraft performance in space and time to estimate fuel consumption, emissions, noise, and air quality assessments. Full-flight gate-to-gate analyses are possible for study sizes ranging from a single flight at an airport, to scenarios at the regional, national, and global levels.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Mathematical models, Computer software and hardware, Environmental testing, Aircraft operations
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