Special Coverage


ATLAS Collaborative Spacecraft and Mission Software Design Tool

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California This software conducts preliminary design studies for spacecraft missions. It supports a collaborative work environment that allows multiple engineers to work simultaneously on the same design. When designing a spacecraft or mission, it is important that each engineer has concurrent data information to ensure consistency in the overall design. However, the complex nature of different subsystems poses a unique problem, because certain inputs require outputs from different subsystems, and all data must be current in order to reach a systematic solution. With ATLAS, when a design is adjusted based on analysis results, new design parameters can be seen by all other clients. Various existing commercial software tools perform similar functions, but none are known to be specifically tailored toward collaborative design of spacecraft missions. ATLAS provides analysis tools with a shared data environment supporting shared work.

Posted in: Briefs, Computer-Aided Design (CAD)



John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida In the context of systems health management, simulations serve many uses. For one, the underlying physical models can be used by model-based health management tools to develop diagnostic and prognostic models. These simulations should incorporate both nominal and faulty behavior with the ability to inject various faults into the system. Such simulations can therefore be used for operator training, as well as for developing and prototyping health management algorithms.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Simulation Software


Building Blocks for the Rapid Development of Parallel Simulations

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland Scientists need to be able to quickly develop and run parallel simulations without writing low-level message passing codes using compiled languages such as C/C++/Fortran. Traditionally, high-level languages that support rapid development, such as MATLAB, IDL, Mathematica, and Python, have not addressed parallel computing needs. Other parallel tools for high-level languages are very early in the development process and not mature, are very expensive and not open source, are typically limited to one or two models of parallel computing, do not allow collaborative parallel computing, have not fully addressed error handling, and are not asynchronous in nature.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Simulation Software


Automated Multibody Response (AMBER)

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas AMBER is an automated tool for performing transient loads analysis of structural systems composed of one or more flexible bodies. Each body is initially supplied in Craig-Bampton form. Two basic solution approaches are available: traditional system assembly and multibody. The traditional approach is better suited for linear systems or for comparison to legacy analysis; the multibody approach is better suited for systems having gap or friction nonlinearities at the body-to-body interfaces, or for non-traditional damping.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers


Large Computer-Generated Hologram with Software-Generated Calibration Wavefront Map

This type of testing aspheric surfaces provides better imaging, lower mapping distortion, and much higher-quality substrates. Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama This technology enables accurate calibration of a large Computer Generated Hologram (CGH) fabricated without great accuracy, such that the CGH still measures an aspheric surface to an excellent accuracy of a couple of nm rms. The goal is the creation of software for generating a calibration map, and the fabrication of a couple of 9-in. (≈22.5-cm)-diameter CGHs to experimentally verify the technology. Use of CGHs in testing aspheric surfaces provides many advantages, such as better imaging, lower mapping distortion, and much higher-quality substrates.

Posted in: Briefs, Optics, Electronics & Computers


Propellant Loading Visualization Software

Monitoring of complex propulsion pressure systems has been simplified with colors. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland Complex pressure systems are utilized during testing in the propulsion branch as well as during the propellant loading stage of a mission. Keeping track of the state of such a system becomes more difficult as the complexity of such a system increases, and when extensive procedures are being followed. A book-keeping system is needed for visualizing these complex systems.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP


Habitat Demonstration Unit Core Avionics Software

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas The Habitat Demonstration Unit Core Avionics Software (HDU-CAS) is designed to provide the required functionality for an engineering prototype of a highly autonomous space habitat element, and to provide an opportunity for new software technologies to be tested in an environment that provides that functionality. The HDU itself must provide basic environmental and infrastructure services, while also supporting a variety of integrated subsystems that aid in the fulfillment of space mission operations. The HDU-CAS must then provide complete command and data handling, and intelligent autonomous operations functions of these needed subsystems in all appropriate circumstances (nominal and off-nominal).

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Aviation, Electronics & Computers