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ASPEN Version 3.0

The Automated Scheduling and Planning Environment (ASPEN) computer program has been updated to version 3.0. ASPEN as a whole (up to version 2.0) has been summarized, and selected aspects of ASPEN have been discussed in several previous NASA Tech Briefs articles. Restated briefly, ASPEN is a modular, reconfigurable, application software framework for solving batch problems that involve reasoning about time, activities, states, and resources. Applications of ASPEN can include planning spacecraft missions, scheduling of personnel, and managing supply chains, inventories, and production lines. ASPEN 3.0 can be customized for a wide range of applications and for a variety of computing environments that include various central processing units and random-access memories. Domain-specific reasoning modules (e.g., modules for determining orbits for spacecraft) can easily be plugged into ASPEN 3.0. Improvements over other, similar software that have been incorporated into ASPEN 3.0 include a provision for more expressive time-line values, new parsing capabilities afforded by an ASPEN language based on Extensible Markup Language, improved search capabilities, and improved interfaces to other, utility-type software (notably including MATLAB).

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Secure Display of Space-Exploration Images

Java EDR Display Interface (JEDI) is software for either local display or secure Internet distribution, to authorized clients, of image data acquired from cameras aboard spacecraft engaged in exploration of remote planets. (“EDR” signifies “experimental data record,” which, in effect, signifies image data.) Processed at NASA’s Multimission Image Processing Laboratory (MIPL), the data can be from either near-real-time processing streams or stored files. JEDI uses the Java Advanced Imaging application program interface, plus input/output packages that are parts of the Video Image Communication and Retrieval software of the MIPL, to display images. JEDI can be run as either a standalone application program or within a Web browser as a servlet with an applet front end. In either operating mode, JEDI communicates using the HTTP(s) protocol( s). In the Web-browser case, the user must provide a password to gain access. For each user and/or image data type, there is a configuration file, called a “personality file,” containing parameters that control the layout of the displays and the information to be included in them. Once JEDI has accepted the user’s password, it processes the requested EDR (provided that user is authorized to receive the specific EDR) to create a display according to the user’s personality file.

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Multiphysics Modeling Helps SONAR “Listen” to Material

Researchers use mathematical models in studying how low-frequency echoes can determine what an object is made of. SONAR (SOund NAvigation Ranging) has been in use for decades to detect submerged objects, but researchers are finding how to extract new information from its echoes. With the help of multiphysics modeling software, a group of researchers at the NATO Undersea Research Centre in La Spezia, Italy, are studying how lowfrequency echoes can determine what an object is made of.

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Rotating-Pump Design Code

Pump Design (PUMPDES) is a computer program for designing a rotating pump for liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen, liquid nitrogen, water, methane, or ethane. Using realistic properties of these fluids provided by another program called “GASPAK,” this code performs a station-by-station, mean-line analysis along the pump flow path, obtaining thermodynamic properties of the pumped fluid at each station and evaluating hydraulic losses along the flow path. The variables at each station are obtained under constraints that are consistent with the underlying physical principles. The code evaluates the performance of each stage and the overall pump. In addition, by judiciously choosing the givens and the unknowns, the code can perform a geometric inverse design function: that is, it can compute a pump geometry that yields a closest approximation of given design point. The code contains two major parts: one for an axial-rotor/inducer and one for a multistage centrifugal pump. The inducer and the centrifugal pump are functionally integrated. The code can be used in designing and/or evaluating the inducer/centrifugal-pump combination or the centrifugal pump alone. The code is written in standard Fortran 77.

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High-Level Performance Modeling of SAR Systems

SAUSAGE (Still Another Utility for SAR Analysis that’s General and Extensible) is a computer program for modeling (see figure) the performance of synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) or interferometric synthetic- aperture radar (InSAR or IFSAR) systems. The user is assumed to be familiar with the basic principles of SAR imaging and interferometry. Given design parameters (e.g., altitude, power, and bandwidth) that characterize a radar system, the software predicts various performance metrics (e.g., signal-to-noise ratio and resolution). SAUSAGE is intended to be a general software tool for quick, high-level evaluation of radar designs; it is not meant to capture all the subtleties, nuances, and particulars of specific systems. SAUSAGE was written to facilitate the exploration of engineering tradeoffs within the multidimensional space of design parameters. Typically, this space is examined through an iterative process of adjusting the values of the design parameters and examining the effects of the adjustments on the overall performance of the system at each iteration. The software is designed to be modular and extensible to enable consideration of a variety of operating modes and antenna beam patterns, including, for example, strip-map and spotlight SAR acquisitions, polarimetry, burst modes, and squinted geometries.

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Spectral Analysis Tool 6.2 for Windows

Spectral Analysis Tool 6.2 is the latest version of a computer program that assists in analysis of interference between radio signals of the types most commonly used in Earth/spacecraft radio communications. [An earlier version was reported in “Software for Analyzing Earth/ Spacecraft Radio Interference” (NPO-20422), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 25, No. 4 (April 2001), page 52.] SAT 6.2 calculates signal spectra, bandwidths, and interference effects for several families of modulation schemes. Several types of filters can be modeled, and the program calculates and displays signal spectra after filtering by any of the modeled filters. The program accommodates two simultaneous signals: a desired signal and an interferer. The interference-to-signal power ratio can be calculated for the filtered desired and interfering signals. Bandwidth- occupancy and link-budget calculators are included for the user’s convenience. SAT 6.2 has a new software structure and provides a new user interface that is both intuitive and convenient. SAT 6.2 incorporates multi-tasking, multithreaded execution, virtual memory management, and a dynamic link library. SAT 6.2 is designed for use on 32-bit computers employing Microsoft Windows operating systems.

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Multi-Platform Avionics Simulator

Multi-Platform Avionics Simulator (MPAvSim) is a software library for development of simulations of avionic hardware. MPAvSim facilitates simulation of interactions between flight software and such avionic peripheral equipment as telecommunication devices, thrusters, pyrotechnic devices, motor controllers, and scientific instruments. MPAvSim focuses on the behavior of avionics as seen by flight software, rather than on performing high-fidelity simulations of dynamics. However, MPAvSim is easily integrable with other programs that do perform such simulations. MPAvSim makes it possible to do real-time partial hardware-in-the-loop simulations. An MPAvSim simulation consists of execution chains (see figure) represented by flow graphs of models, defined here as stateless procedures that do some work. During a simulation, MPAvSim walks the execution chain, running each model in turn. Using MPAvSim, flight software can be run against a spacecraft that is all simulation, all hardware, or part hardware and part simulation. With respect to a specific piece of hardware, either the hardware itself or its simulation can be plugged in without affecting the rest of the system. Thus, flight software can be tested before hardware is available, and as items of hardware become available, they can be substituted for their simulations, with minimal disruption.

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