Software

Generating a 2D Representation of a Complex Data Structure

A computer program, designed to assist in the development and debugging of other software, generates a two-dimensional (2D) representation of a possibly complex ndimensional (where n is an integer >2) data structure or abstract rank-n object in that other software. The nature of the 2D representation is such that it can be displayed on a non-graphical output device and distributed by non-graphical means. The purpose served by this representation is to assist the user in visualizing and understanding the complex data structure or arbitrarily dimensioned object. This is the only known program that enables a programmer to map an n-dimensional data structure to a flat 2D space. This program does not depend upon the hardware characteristics of a particular output device, and can be executed on a variety of computers from different manufacturers. It can be distributed in source-code or binary-code form. It requires a Lisp compiler. It has no specific memory requirements and depends upon the other software with which it is used and application programs running in it. This software is implemented as a library that is called by, and becomes folded into, the developmental other software.

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Conversion Between Osculating and Mean Orbital Elements

Osculating/Mean Orbital Element Conversion (C version) (OSMEANC) is a C-language computer program that performs precise conversions between osculating and mean classical orbital elements. OSMEANC can be used for precise design of spacecraft missions and maneuvers and precise calculation of planetary orbits. The program accounts for the full complexity of gravitational fields, including aspherical and third-body effects. In comparison with prior software used for the same purposes, OSMEANC offers greater accuracy in conversion: By virtue of inclusion of high-order gravitational and third-body effects, variations in semimajor axes are calculated to meter-level accuracy. OSMEANC is delivered as a callable shared library. It can be built for any platform with a C compiler. The user interface is via a Python-language wrapper script that can be replaced by the user. OSMEANC is mature and is the product of a significant upgrade from a Fortran version that has been in use since 1991.

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New Software for Predicting Charging of Spacecraft

The NASA/Air Force Spacecraft Charging System Analyzer Program (Nascap-2K) is a comprehensive update, revision, and extension of several NASA and Air Force codes for predicting electrical charging of spacecraft. Nascap-2K integrates the capabilities and models included in four independent programs: NASCAP/LEO for low-Earth orbits, NASCAP/GEO for geosynchronous orbits, POLAR for auroral charging in polar orbits, and DynaPAC (Dynamic Plasma Analysis Code) for time-dependent plasma interactions. While each of the earlier codes works well for the range of problems for which it was designed, by today’s standards these codes are difficult to learn, cumbersome to use, and overly restrictive in their geometric modeling capabilities. Nascap-2K incorporates these models into a single software package that includes spacecraft surface modeling, spatial gridding, environmental specifications, calculating scripting, and post-processing analysis and visualization. The provided material properties database includes values from earlier programs as well as values from recent measurements. Development of Nascap-2K continues with future capabilities to include interactions with dense plasma such as those produced by electric propulsion.

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PixelLearn

PixelLearn is an integrated user-interface computer program for classifying pixels in scientific images. Heretofore, training a machine-learning algorithm to classify pixels in images has been tedious and difficult. PixelLearn provides a graphical user interface that makes it faster and more intuitive, leading to more interactive exploration of image data sets. PixelLearn also provides image-enhancement controls to make it easier to see subtle details in images. PixelLearn opens images or sets of images in a variety of common scientific file formats and enables the user to interact with several supervised or unsupervised machine-learning pixel-classifying algorithms while the user continues to browse through the images. The machinelearning algorithms in PixelLearn use advanced clustering and classification methods that enable accuracy much higher than is achievable by most other software previously available for this purpose. PixelLearn is written in portable C++ and runs natively on computers running Linux, Windows, or Mac OS X.

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High-Speed Recording of Test Data on Hard Disks

Disk Recording System (DRS) is a systems- integration computer program for a direct-to-disk (DTD) high-speed data-acquisition system (HDAS) that records rocket-engine test data. The HDAS consists partly of equipment originally designed for recording the data on tapes. The tape recorders were replaced with hard-disk drives, necessitating the development of DRS to provide an operating environment that ties two computers, a set of five DTD recorders, and signal-processing circuits from the original tape-recording version of the HDAS into one working system. DRS includes three subsystems: (1) one that generates a graphical user interface (GUI), on one of the computers, that serves as a main control panel; (2) one that generates a GUI, on the other computer, that serves as a remote control panel; and (3) a data-processing subsystem that performs tasks on the DTD recorders according to instructions sent from the main control panel. The software affords capabilities for dynamic configuration to record single or multiple channels from a remote source, remote starting and stopping of the recorders, indexing to prevent overwriting of data, and production of filtered frequency data from an original time-series data file.

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Cross-Compiler for Modeling Space-Flight Systems

Ripples is a computer program that makes it possible to specify arbitrarily complex space-flight systems in an easy-tolearn, high-level programming language and to have the specification automatically translated into LibSim, which is a textbased computing language in which such simulations are implemented. LibSim is a very powerful simulation language, but learning it takes considerable time, and it requires that models of systems and their components be described at a very low level of abstraction. To construct a model in LibSim, it is necessary to go through a time-consuming process that includes modeling each subsystem, including defining its fault-injection states, input and output conditions, and the topology of its connections to other subsystems. Ripples makes it possible to describe the same models at a much higher level of abstraction, thereby enabling the user to build models faster and with fewer errors. Ripples can be executed in a variety of computers and operating systems, and can be supplied in either source code or binary form. It must be run in conjunction with a Lisp compiler.

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XML Flight/Ground Data Dictionary Management

A computer program generates Extensible Markup Language (XML) files that effect coupling between the command- and telemetry-handling software running aboard a spacecraft and the corresponding software running in ground support systems. The XML files are produced by use of information from the flight software and from flight-system engineering. The XML files are converted to legacy ground-system data formats for command and telemetry, transformed into Web-based and printed documentation, and used in developing new ground system data-handling software. Previously, the information about telemetry and command was scattered in various paper documents that were not synchronized. The process of searching and reading the documents was time-consuming and introduced errors. In contrast, the XML files contain all of the information in one place. XML structures can evolve in such a manner as to enable the addition, to the XML files, of the metadata necessary to track the changes and the associated documentation. The use of this software has reduced the extent of manual operations in developing a ground data system, thereby saving considerable time and removing errors that previously arose in the translation and transcription of software information from the flight to the ground system.

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