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Collaborative Planning of Robotic Exploration

The Science Activity Planner (SAP) software system includes an uplink-planning component, which enables collaborative planning of activities to be undertaken by an exploratory robot on a remote planet or on Earth. Included in the uplink-planning component is the SAP-Uplink Browser, which enables users to load multiple spacecraft activity plans into a single window, compare them, and merge them. The uplink-planning component includes a subcomponent that implements the Rover Markup Language Activity Planning format (RML-AP), based on the Extensible Markup Language (XML) format that enables the representation, within a single document, of planned spacecraft and robotic activities together with the scientific reasons for the activities. Each such document is highly parseable and can be validated easily. Another subcomponent of the uplink-planning component is the Activity Dictionary Markup Language (ADML), which eliminates the need for two mission activity dictionaries — one in a human-readable format and one in a machine-readable format. Style sheets that have been developed along with the ADML format enable users to edit one dictionary in a user-friendly environment without compromising the machine-read-ability of the format.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Framework for Development of Object-Oriented Software

The Real-Time Control (RTC) Application Framework is a high-level software framework written in C++ that supports the rapid design and implementation of object-oriented application programs. This framework provides built-in functionality that solves common software development problems within distributed client-server, multi-threaded, and embedded programming environments. When using the RTC Framework to develop software for a specific domain, designers and implementers can focus entirely on the details of the domain-specific software rather than on creating custom solutions, utilities, and frameworks for the complexities of the programming environment. The RTC Framework was originally developed as part of a Space Shuttle Launch Processing System (LPS) replacement project called Checkout and Launch Control System (CLCS). As a result of the framework's development, CLCS software development time was reduced by 66 percent. The framework is generic enough for developing applications outside of the launch-processing system domain. Other applicable high-level domains include command and control systems and simulation/training systems.

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Faster Processing for Inverting GPS Occultation Data

A document outlines a computational method that can be incorporated into two prior methods used to invert Global Positioning System (GPS) occultation data [signal data acquired by a low-Earth-orbiting satellite as either this or the GPS satellite rises above or falls below the horizon] to obtain information on altitude-dependent properties of the atmosphere. The two prior inversion methods, known as back propagation and canonical transform, are computationally expensive because for each occultation, they involve numerical evaluation of a large number of diffraction-like spatial integrals. The present method involves an angular-spectrum-based phase-extrapolation approximation in which each data point is associated with a plane-wave component that propagates in a unique direction from the orbit of the receiving satellite to intersect a straight line tangent to the orbit at a nearby point. This approximation enables the use of fast Fourier transforms (FFTs), which apply only to data collected along a straight-line trajectory. The computation of the diffraction-like integrals in the angular-spectrum domain by use of FFTs takes only seconds, whereas previously, it took minutes.

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Determining Sizes of Particles in a Flow From DPIV Data

The same equipment would be used to measure sizes as well as velocities. A proposed method of measuring the size of particles entrained in a flow of a liquid or gas would involve utilization of data from digital particle-image velocimetry (DPIV) of the flow. That is to say, with proper design and operation of a DPIV system, the DPIV data could be processed according to the proposed method to obtain particle sizes in addition to particle velocities.

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Simultaneous Product Development Provides a New Approach to Design Collaboration

This approach enables sharing and merging of any element of a digital model, and allows collaborative data to flow in any direction. Product development is becoming increasingly global and as a result, new challenges have emerged,such as coordinating geographically dispersed teams of suppliers and partners. Consequently, the modern enterprise is more similar to a network of interconnected nodes that work in parallel and need constant dynamic synchronization. The widespread adoption of digital design documents, the introduction of collaboration tools like Web-based review and mark-up, and Internet-accessible databases have made design data more readily available.

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Discrepancy Reporting Management System

Discrepancy Reporting Management System (DRMS) is a computer program designed for use in the stations of NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) to help establish the operational history of equipment items; acquire data on the quality of service provided to DSN customers; enable measurement of service performance; provide early insight into the need to improve processes, procedures, and interfaces; and enable the tracing of a data outage to a change in software or hardware. DRMS is a Web-based software system designed to include a distributed-database and replication feature to achieve location-specific autonomy while maintaining a consistent high quality of data. DRMS incorporates commercial Web and database software. DRMS collects, processes, replicates, communicates, and manages information on spacecraft data discrepancies, equipment resets, and physical equipment status, and maintains an internal station log. All discrepancy reports (DRs), Master discrepancy reports (MDRs), and Reset data are replicated to a master server at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Master DR data are replicated to all the DSN sites; and Station Logs are internal to each of the DSN sites and are not replicated. Data are validated according to several logical mathematical criteria. Queries can be performed on any combination of data.

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Analyzing Contents of a Computer Cache

The Cache Contents Estimator (CCE) is a computer program that provides information on the contents of level-1 cache of a PowerPC computer. The CCE is configurable to enable simulation of any processor in the PowerPC family. The need for CCE arises because the contents of level-1 caches are not available to either hardware or software readout mechanisms, yet information on the contents is crucial in the development of fault-tolerant or highly available computing systems and for realistic modeling and prediction of computing-system performance. The CCE comprises two independent subprograms: (1) the Dynamic Application Address eXtractor (DAAX), which extracts the stream of address references from an application program undergoing execution and (2) the Cache Simulator (CacheSim), which models the level-1 cache of the processor to be analyzed, by mimicking what the cache controller would do, in response to the address stream from DAAX. CacheSim generates a running estimate of the contents of the data and the instruction subcaches of the level-1 cache, hit/miss ratios, the percentage of cache that contains valid or active data, and time-stamped histograms of the cache content.

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