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Managing an Archive of Images

The SSC Multimedia Archive is an automated electronic system to manage images, acquired both by film and digital cameras, for the Public Affairs Office (PAO) at Stennis Space Center (SSC). Previously, the image archive was based on film photography and utilized a manual system that, by today's standards, had become inefficient and expensive. Now, the SSC Multimedia Archive, based on a server at SSC, contains both catalogs and images for pictures taken both digitally and with a traditional, film-based camera, along with metadata about each image. After a "shoot," a photographer downloads the images into the database. Members of the PAO can use a Web-based application to search, view and retrieve images, approve images for publication, and view and edit metadata associated with the images. Approved images are archived and cross-referenced with appropriate descriptions and information. Security is provided by al-lowing administrators to explicitly grant access privileges to personnel to only access components of the system that they need to (i.e., allow only photographers to upload images, only PAO designated employees may approve images).

Posted in: Briefs

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Document Concurrence System

The Document Concurrence System is a combination of software modules for routing users expressions of concurrence with documents. This system enables determination of the current status of concurrences and eliminates the need for the prior practice of manually delivering paper documents to all persons whose approvals were required. This system runs on a server, and participants gain access via personal computers equipped with Web-browser and electronic-mail software. A user can begin a concurrence routing process by logging onto an administration module, naming the approvers and stating the sequence for routing among them, and attaching documents. The server then sends a message to the first person on the list. Upon concurrence by the first person, the system sends a message to the second person, and so forth. A person on the list indicates approval, places the documents on hold, or indicates disapproval, via a Web-based module. When the last person on the list has concurred, a message is sent to the initiator, who can then finalize the process through the administration module. A background process running on the server identifies concurrence processes that are overdue and sends reminders to the appropriate persons.

Posted in: Briefs

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Forensic Analysis of Compromised Computers

Directory Tree Analysis File Generator is a Practical Extraction and Reporting Language (PERL) script that simplifies and automates the collection of information for forensic analysis of compromised computer systems. During such an analysis, it is sometimes necessary to collect and analyze information about files on a specific directory tree. Directory Tree Analysis File Generator collects information of this type (except information about directories) and writes it to a text file. In particular, the script asks the user for the root of the directory tree to be processed, the name of the output file, and the number of subtree levels to process. The script then processes the directory tree and puts out the aforementioned text file. The format of the text file is designed to enable the submission of the file as input to a spreadsheet program, wherein the forensic analysis is performed. The analysis usually consists of sorting files and examination of such characteristics of files as ownership, time of creation, and time of most recent access, all of which characteristics are among the data included in the text file.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Software for Probabilistic Risk Reduction

A computer program implements a methodology, denoted probabilistic risk reduction, that is intended to aid in planning the development of complex software and/or hardware systems. This methodology integrates two complementary prior methodologies: (1) that of probabilistic risk assessment and (2) a risk-based planning methodology, implemented in a prior computer program known as Defect Detection and Prevention (DDP), in which multiple requirements and the beneficial effects of risk-mitigation actions are taken into account. The present methodology and the software are able to accommodate both process knowledge (notably of the efficacy of development practices) and product knowledge (notably of the logical structure of a system, the development of which one seeks to plan). Estimates of the costs and benefits of a planned development can be derived. Functional and non-functional aspects of software can be taken into account, and trades made among them. It becomes possible to optimize the planning process in the sense that it becomes possible to select the best suite of process steps and design choices to maximize the expectation of success while remaining within budget.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Spacecraft Attitude Maneuver Planning Using Genetic Algorithms

A key enabling technology that leads to greater spacecraft autonomy is the capability to autonomously and optimally slew the spacecraft from and to different attitudes while operating under a number of celestial and dynamic constraints. The task of finding an attitude trajectory that meets all the constraints is a formidable one, in particular for orbiting or fly-by spacecraft where the constraints and initial and final conditions are of time-varying nature. This approach for attitude path planning makes full use of a priori constraint knowledge and is computationally tractable enough to be executed onboard a spacecraft. The approach is based on incorporating the constraints into a cost function and using a Genetic Algorithm to iteratively search for and optimize the solution. This results in a directed random search that explores a large part of the solution space while maintaining the knowledge of good solutions from iteration to iteration. A solution obtained this way may be used "as is" or as an initial solution to initialize additional deterministic optimization algorithms. A number of representative case examples for time-fixed and time-varying conditions yielded search times that are typically on the order of minutes, thus demonstrating the viability of this method. This approach is applicable to all deep space and planet Earth missions requiring greater spacecraft autonomy, and greatly facilitates navigation and science observation planning.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Analyzing Dynamics of Cooperating Spacecraft

A software library has been developed to enable high-fidelity computational simulation of the dynamics of multiple spacecraft distributed over a region of outer space and acting with a common purpose. All of the modeling capabilities afforded by this software are available independently in other, separate software systems, but have not previously been brought together in a single system. A user can choose among several dynamical models, many high-fidelity environment models, and several numerical-integration schemes. The user can select whether to use models that assume weak coupling between spacecraft, or strong coupling in the case of feedback control or tethering of spacecraft to each other. For weak coupling, spacecraft orbits are propagated independently, and are synchronized in time by controlling the step size of the integration. For strong coupling, the orbits are integrated simultaneously. Among the integration schemes that the user can choose are Runge-Kutta Verner, Prince-Dormand, Adams-Bashforth- Moulton, and Bulirsh-Stoer. Comparisons of performance are included for both the weak- and strong-coupling dynamical models for all of the numerical integrators. The library was designed for ease of integration with high-fidelity environment models already in use in the Flight Dynamics Analysis Branch, which is one of seven institutional support branches within the Mission Engineering and Systems Analysis Division at Goddard Space Flight Center.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Software Processes SAR Motion-Measurement Data

Motion Measurement Processor (MMP) is one of three computer programs that are used together in the operation of a terrainmapping dual-frequency interferometric synthetic-aperture-radar (SAR) system. The other two programs — Jurassicprok and Calibration Processor — are described in the two immediately preceding articles. MMP acquires all the motion and attitude data collected by onboard instrumentation systems, including radar, laser and camera metrology, inertial navigation systems, and Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers. MMP combines all this information and processes it into all the trajectory information needed to run Jurassicprok, which performs the interferometric processing and mapping functions. MMP includes several Kalman filters for combining and smoothing aircraft motion and attitude data, and least-squares inversion and filtering software tools for solving for interferometric baseline lengths. MMP synchronizes the motion and radar data. It combines the various measurement data into a unified, seven-dimensional reference system and puts out the resulting filtered trajectory and attitude data along with instructions for use of the data by Jurassicprok, as well as the command files used to operate Jurassicprok.

Posted in: Briefs

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