MOPSS is a generic framework that can be configured on the fly to support a wide range of planning and scheduling applications. It is currently used to support seven missions at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in roles that include science planning, mission planning, and real-time control.

Prior to MOPSS, each spacecraft project built its own planning and scheduling capability to plan satellite activities and communications and to create the commands to be uplinked to the spacecraft. This approach required creating a data repository for storing planning and scheduling information, building user interfaces to display data, generating needed scheduling algorithms, and implementing customized external interfaces. Complex scheduling problems that involved reacting to multiple variable situations were analyzed manually. Operators then used the results to add commands to the schedule. Each architecture was unique to specific satellite requirements.

MOPSS is an expert system that automates mission operations and frees the flight operations team to concentrate on critical activities. It is easily reconfigured by the flight operations team as the mission evolves. The heart of the system is a custom object-oriented data layer mapped onto an Oracle relational database. The combination of these two technologies allows a user or system engineer to capture any type of scheduling or planning data in the system’s generic data storage via a GUI.

MOPSS uses CORBA in conjunction with a multi-tier architecture to allow multiple users to concurrently view and edit schedule data. The adaptable architecture of MOPSS also enables easy integration of tools and models to satisfy new system requirements. MOPSS has two clients: an X/MOTIF client and a Java client. The Java client is effective over the Web and has been used by remote MAP mission scientists and engineers to monitor spacecraft integration tests.

The most obvious use of MOPSS is for control of commercial satellites. In the television industry, MOPSS could be used to schedule TV commercials on broadcast television based on FCC rules, demographics, and program content. In the medical field, MOPSS could be used to schedule and optimize use of hospitals in a network and resources within hospitals. In the power industry, MOPSS can be used to schedule nuclear power plant maintenance. The education and transportation fields are also candidates.

This work was done by Terri Wood of Goddard Space Flight Center and Paul Hempel of Computer Sciences Corp. GSC-15858-1

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Mission Operations Planning and Scheduling System (MOPSS) (reference GSC-15858-1) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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