Special Coverage

Clamshell Sampler
Shape Memory Alloy Rock Splitter
Deployable Extra-Vehicular Activity Platform (DEVAP) for Planetary Surfaces
2016 Create The Future Design Contest Open For Entries
The Future of Exploration Starts With 3D Printing
Home

Framework for Flexible Security in Group Communications

The Antigone software system defines a framework for the flexible definition and implementation of security policies in group communication systems. Antigone does not dictate the available security policies, but provides high-level mechanisms for implementing them. A central element of the Antigone architecture is a suite of such mechanisms comprising micro-protocols that provide the basic services needed by secure groups. Policies are implemented through the composition and configuration of these mechanisms. Mechanisms are composed in different ways to address new requirements and environ-mental constraints. The Antigone framework provides an easy-to-use application programming interface (API), from which secure group application programs can be built. Written entirely in the C++ programming language, the system consists of over 18,000 lines of source code and has been ported to several versions of Linux, FreeBSD, and SunOS. Information for accessing recent versions of the source code and related documentation is available at http://antigone.eecs.umich.edu.

Posted in: Briefs

Read More >>

Stress Testing of Data-Communication Networks

NetStress is a computer program that stress-tests a data-communication network and components thereof. NetStress comprises two components running, respectively, in a transmitting system and a receiving system connected to a network under test. The novelty of the program is that is has the capability to generate/receive varied network loading traffic profiles, which prior known programs were incapable of producing (i.e., various packet sizes and various packet rates all combined to make a pseudo-random traffic pattern). The transmitting-system component generates increasingly stressful data traffic for transmission via the network. The receiving- system component analyzes the resulting traffic arriving in the receiving system, generating such statistics as the number of data packets successfully received, the number of dropped packets, and the number of packets received out of order. The packet sizes must be configured before the transmitting-system component is started, but the packet frequencies, numbers of packets in bursts, and burst times can be configured during execution. Typically, a test begins with transmission of data at low sustained rates. Then the sustained rates are increased and burst rates are modified while monitoring to determine whether the receiving-system component reports any losses. When significant losses are reported, the user seeks to determine whether a malfunction or deficiency has been found or normal network saturation has been attained. NetStress was written for execution in the VxWorks real-time operating system, but could easily be ported to other operating systems.

Posted in: Briefs

Read More >>

Sizing Structures and Predicting Weight of a Spacecraft

EZDESIT is a computer program for choosing the sizes of structural components and predicting the weight of a spacecraft, aircraft, or other vehicle. In designing a vehicle, EZDESIT is used in conjunction with a finite-element structural- analysis program: Each structural component is sized within EZDESIT to withstand the loads expected to be encountered during operation, then the weights of all the structural finite elements are added to obtain the structural weight of the vehicle. The sizing of the structural components elements also alters the stiffness properties of the finite-element model. The finite-element analysis and structural component sizing are iterated until the weight of the vehicle converges to a prescribed iterative difference. The results of the sizing can be reviewed in two ways: 1. An interactive session of the EZDESIT program enables review of the results in a table that shows component types, component weights, and failure modes; and 2. The results are read into a finite-element preprocessing-and-postprocessing program and displayed on a graphical representation of the model.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

Robust Control for the Mercury Laser Altimeter

Mercury Laser Altimeter Science Algorithms is a software system for controlling the laser altimeter aboard the Messenger spacecraft, which is to enter into orbit about Mercury in 2011. The software will control the altimeter by dynamically modifying hardware inputs for gain, threshold, channel- disable flags, range- window start location, and range- window width, by using ranging information provided by the spacecraft and noise counts from instrument hardware. In addition, because of severe bandwidth restrictions, the software also selects returns for downlink. To reduce mission risk, the software incorporates three different modes of operation. The three modes are denoted as fixed, range-driven, and closedloop (or adaptive). The fixed mode provides fixed hardware inputs for all but the threshold. The range-driven mode receives and utilizes ranging information from the spacecraft regarding its slant range to the planet or asteroid. The adaptive mode is capable of improving upon the ranging information provided by the spacecraft by use of a closed-loop range-estimation algorithm. The software is sufficiently robust that it could be used on other missions, and in fact, this has already been proposed.

Posted in: Software, Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

DAVE-ML Utility Programs

DAVEtools is a set of Java archives (*.jar files) that embodies tools for manipulating flight-dynamics models that have been encoded in dynamic aerospace vehicle exchange markup language (DAVE-ML). [DAVE-ML is an application program, written in Extensible Markup Language (XML), for encoding complete computational models of the dynamics of aircraft and spacecraft. The goal in the continuing development of DAVE-ML is to expedite the exchange and validation of dynamical models, via the Internet, in a manner that is consistent and is independent of computational-simulation facilities, computing languages, and simulation software.] At present, DAVEtools includes two tools: dave (a basic DAVE-ML parser), which generates a Java-based version of a model encoded in DAVE-ML and dave2sl, which builds on dave to create Simulink® representations of models encoded in DAVE-ML.

Posted in: Software, Briefs

Read More >>

Software for Alignment of Segments of a Telescope Mirror

The Segment Alignment Maintenance System (SAMS) software is designed to maintain the overall focus and figure of the large segmented primary mirror of the Hobby-Eberly Telescope. This software reads measurements made by sensors attached to the segments of the primary mirror and from these measurements computes optimal control values to send to actuators that move the mirror segments. The software also acts as a logger for the collected data, a server from which the hardware of the control computer can acquire control information and other computers can collect data, and a monitoring and diagnostic system. The software provides a graphical user interface through which human operators can exert control. The software supports four modes of operation: Operate — The server acquires the sensory data and processes them into commands for the actuators. Calibrate — Calibration tests are performed on the edge sensors and the relationships between actuator commands and sensor responses are quantified. Standby — The server is initialized in standby mode, from which it can make the transition to any of the other three modes. Diagnostic — This mode provides access to all sensory data in real time and is intended for use in diagnosis of sensor anomalies.

Posted in: Software, Briefs

Read More >>

Simulation of Dropping of Cargo With Parachutes

Decelerator System Simulation (DSS) is a computer program for predicting and analyzing the dynamics of a load of cargo dropped with parachutes from an aircraft. A DSS simulation runs from the first motion in the aircraft until the payload reaches the ground. Intended for use in support of airdrop tests for the X- 38 program, DSS was developed by modifying and augmenting an older program, denoted UD233A, used for simulating the dynamics of a space-shuttle solid rocket booster falling with a parachute. The main effort in converting UD233A into DSS involved development of computational models for simulating the inflation of one or more parachute( s), the dynamics of the payload and the slings connecting the parachute( s) with the payload, and the extraction of the payload and parachutes from the aircraft.

Posted in: Software, Briefs

Read More >>

The U.S. Government does not endorse any commercial product, process, or activity identified on this web site.