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Program Analyzes Radar Altimeter Data

A computer program has been written to perform several analyses of radar altimeter data. The program was designed to improve on previous methods of analysis of altimeter engineering data by (1) facilitating and accelerating the analysis of large amounts of data in a more direct manner and (2) improving the ability to estimate performance of radar-altimeter instrumentation and provide data corrections. The data in question are openly available to the international scientific community and can be downloaded from anonymous file-transfer-protocol (FTP) locations that are accessible via links from altimetry Web sites. The software estimates noise in range measurements, estimates corrections for electromagnetic bias, and performs statistical analyses on various parameters for comparison of different altimeters. Whereas prior techniques used to perform similar analyses of altimeter range noise require comparison of data from repetitions of satellite ground tracks, the present software uses a high-pass filtering technique to obtain similar results from single satellite passes. Elimination of the requirement for repeat-track analysis facilitates the analysis of large amounts of satellite data to assess subtle variations in range noise.

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Software Assists in Responding to Anomalous Conditions

Fault Induced Document Retrieval Officer (FIDO) is a computer program that reduces the need for a large and costly team of engineers and/or technicians to monitor the state of a spacecraft and associated ground systems and respond to anomalies. FIDO includes artificial-intelligence components that imitate the reasoning of human experts with reference to a knowledge base of rules that represent failure modes and to a database of engineering documentation. These components act together to give an unskilled operator instantaneous expert assistance and access to information that can enable resolution of most anomalies, without the need for highly paid experts. FIDO provides a system state summary (a configurable engineering summary) and documentation for diagnosis of a potentially failing component that might have caused a given error message or anomaly.

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Software for Autonomous Spacecraft Maneuvers

The AutoCon computer programs facilitate and accelerate the planning and execution of orbital control maneuvers of spacecraft while analyzing and resolving mission constraints. AutoCon-F is executed aboard spacecraft, enabling the spacecraft to plan and execute maneuvers autonomously; AutoCon-G is designed for use on the ground. The AutoCon programs utilize advanced techniques of artificial intelligence, including those of fuzzy logic and natural language scripting, to resolve multiple conflicting constraints and automatically plan maneuvers. These programs can be used to satisfy requirements for missions that involve orbits around the Earth, the Moon, or any planet, and are especially useful for missions in which there are requirements for frequent maneuvers and for resolution of complex conflicting constraints. During operations, the software targets new trajectories, places and sizes maneuvers, and controls spacecraft burns. AutoCon-G provides a user friendly graphical interface, and can be used effectively by an analyst with minimal training. AutoCon-F reduces latency and supports multiple-spacecraft and formation-flying missions. The AutoCon architecture supports distributive processing, which can be critical for formation-control missions. AutoCon is completely object-oriented and can easily be enhanced by adding new objects and events. AutoCon-F was flight demonstrated onboard GSFC’s EO-1 spacecraft flying in formation with Landsat-7.

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WinPlot

WinPlot is a powerful desktop graphical analysis tool that allows the user to generate displays of unrestrictive amounts of data. It is designed to operate on a Windows 98/NT/2000 based desktop platform. WinPlot was developed to fulfill the need for fast and easily managed graphical displays of NASA test articles and facilities with extreme amount of test data in a desktop-computer environment. WinPlot features include seamless displays of real-time and post-test-time data with time and event synchronization of data from multiple sources. WinPlot also processes full scripting capability for automation of processes. Entire analysis procedures may be recorded and replayed with a single command. Users may record their actions within WinPlot or may write scripts using text editor. Scripts may also call and execute other scripts, providing even greater automation of tasks. WinPlot is also unique in its ability to plot large volumes of data on a desktop workstation. Up to 1,000 test data files may be opened simultaneously with plots generated containing up to 1,000 curves per plot. WinPlot also has extensive abilities in generation of “on-the-fly” calculations, reducing or eliminating the need for external programs to generate the data. Calculations may include a series of recorded parameters, constants, and math functions. WinPlot’s ability to export plots on a single mouse click can make easy work of preparing presentation material with office applications. One simply produces the plot with desired style and click of a button on the tool bar. Plots will be saved in a predefined folder with a sortable naming convention.

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Software for Automated Testing of Mission-Control Displays

MCC Display Cert Tool is a set of software tools for automated testing of computer terminal displays in spacecraft mission-control centers, including those of the space shuttle and the International Space Station. This software makes it possible to perform tests that are more thorough, take less time, and are less likely to lead to erroneous results, relative to tests performed manually.

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Tools for Basic Statistical Analysis

Statistical Analysis Toolset is a collection of eight Microsoft Excel spreadsheet programs, each of which performs calculations pertaining to an aspect of statistical analysis.

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Solving Common Mathematical Problems

Mathematical Solutions Toolset is a collection of five software programs that rapidly solve some common mathematical problems.

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