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Close-Call Action Log Form

“Close Call Action Log Form” (“CCALF”) is the name of both a computer program and a Web-based service provided by the program for creating an enhanced database of close calls (in the colloquial sense of mishaps that were avoided by small margins) assigned to the Center Operations Directorate (COD) at Johnson Space Center. CCALF provides a single facility for on-line collaborative review of close calls. Through CCALF, managers can delegate responses to employees. CCALF utilizes a pre-existing e-mail system to notify managers that there are close calls to review, but eliminates the need for the prior practices of passing multiple e-mail messages around the COD, then collecting and consolidating them into final responses: CCALF now collects comments from all responders for incorporation into reports that it generates. Also, whereas it was previously necessary to manually calculate metrics (e.g., numbers of maintenance-work orders necessitated by close calls) for inclusion in the reports, CCALF now computes the metrics, summarizes them, and displays them in graphical form. The reports and all pertinent information used to generate the reports are logged, tracked, and retained by CCALF for historical purposes.

Posted in: Software, Briefs

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Task Description Language

Task Description Language (TDL) is an extension of the C++ programming language that enables programmers to quickly and easily write complex, concurrent computer programs for controlling real-time autonomous systems, including robots and spacecraft. TDL is based on earlier work (circa 1984 through 1989) on the Task Control Architecture (TCA). TDL provides syntactic support for hierarchical task-level control functions, including task decomposition, synchronization, execution monitoring, and exception handling. A Java-language-based compiler transforms TDL programs into pure C++ code that includes calls to a platform-independent task-control-management (TCM) library. TDL has been used to control and coordinate multiple heterogeneous robots in projects sponsored by NASA and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It has also been used in Brazil to control an autonomous airship and in Canada to control a robotic manipulator.

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AutoChem

AutoChem is a suite of Fortran 90 computer programs for the modeling of kinetic reaction systems. AutoChem performs automatic code generation, symbolic differentiation, analysis, and documentation. It produces a documented stand-alone system for the modeling and assimilation of atmospheric chemistry. Given databases of chemical reactions and a list of constituents defined by the user, AutoChem automatically does the following:

Posted in: Software, Briefs, TSP

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Two-Dimensional Ffowcs Williams/Hawkings Equation Solver

FWH2D is a Fortran 90 computer program that solves a two-dimensional (2D) version of the equation, derived by J. E. Ffowcs Williams and D. L. Hawkings, for sound generated by turbulent flow. FWH2D was developed especially for estimating noise generated by airflows around such approximately 2D airframe components as slats. The user provides input data on fluctuations of pressure, density, and velocity on some surface. These data are combined with information about the geometry of the surface to calculate histories of thickness and loading terms. These histories are fast- Fourier-transformed into the frequency domain. For each frequency of interest and each observer position specified by the user, kernel functions are integrated over the surface by use of the trapezoidal rule to calculate a pressure signal. The resulting frequency-domain signals are inverse-fast-Fourier-transformed back into the time domain. The output of the code consists of the time- and frequency domain representations of the pressure signals at the observer positions. Because of its approximate nature, FWH2D overpredicts the noise from a finite-length (3D) component. The advantage of FWH2D is that it requires a fraction of the computation time of a 3D Ffowcs Williams/Hawkings solver.

Posted in: Software, Briefs, TSP

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Virtual Machine Language

Virtual Machine Language (VML) is a mission-independent, reusable software system for programming for spacecraft operations. Features of VML include a rich set of data types, named functions, parameters, IF and WHILE control structures, polymorphism, and on-the-fly creation of spacecraft commands from calculated values. Spacecraft functions can be abstracted into named blocks that reside in files aboard the spacecraft. These named blocks accept parameters and execute in a repeatable fashion. The sizes of uplink products are minimized by the ability to call blocks that implement most of the command steps. This block approach also enables some autonomous operations aboard the spacecraft, such as aerobraking, telemetry conditional monitoring, and anomaly response, without developing autonomous flight software. Operators on the ground write blocks and command sequences in a concise, high-level, human-readable programming language (also called “VML”). A compiler translates the human-readable blocks and command sequences into binary files (the operations products). The flight portion of VML interprets the uplinked binary files. The ground subsystem of VML also includes an interactive sequence-execution tool hosted on workstations, which runs sequences at several thousand times real-time speed, affords debugging, and generates reports. This tool enables iterative development of blocks and sequences within times of the order of seconds.

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Full Multigrid Flow Solver

FMG3D (full multigrid 3 dimensions) is a pilot computer program that solves equations of fluid flow using a finite difference representation on a structured grid. Infrastructure exists for three dimensions but the current implementation treats only two dimensions. Written in Fortran 90, FMG3D takes advantage of the recursive subroutine feature, dynamic memory allocation, and structured-programming constructs of that language. FMG3D supports multi-block grids with three types of block to block interfaces: periodic, C-zero, and C-infinity. For all three types, grid points must match at interfaces. For periodic and C-infinity types, derivatives of grid metrics must be continuous at interfaces. The available equation sets are as follows: scalar elliptic equations, scalar convection equations, and the pressure-Poisson formulation of the Navier-Stokes equations for an incompressible fluid. All the equation sets are implemented with nonzero forcing functions to enable the use of user-specified solutions to assist in verification and validation. The equations are solved with a full multigrid scheme using a full approximation scheme to converge the solution on each succeeding grid level. Restriction to the next coarser mesh uses direct injection for variables and full weighting for residual quantities; prolongation of the coarse grid correction from the coarse mesh to the fine mesh uses bilinear interpolation; and prolongation of the coarse grid solution uses bicubic interpolation.

Posted in: Software, Briefs, TSP

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Doclet To Synthesize UML

The RoseDoclet computer program extends the capability of Java doclet software to automatically synthesize Unified Modeling Language (UML) content from Java language source code. [Doclets are Java-language programs that use the doclet application programming interface (API) to specify the content and format of the output of Javadoc. Javadoc is a program, originally designed to generate API documentation from Java source code, now also useful as an extensible engine for processing Java source code.] RoseDoclet takes advantage of Javadoc comments and tags already in the source code to produce a UML model of that code. RoseDoclet applies the doclet API to create a doclet passed to Javadoc. The Javadoc engine applies the doclet to the source code, emitting the output format specified by the doclet. RoseDoclet emits a Rose model file and populates it with fully documented packages, classes, methods, variables, and class diagrams identified in the source code. The way in which UML models are generated can be controlled by use of new Javadoc comment tags that RoseDoclet provides. The advantage of using RoseDoclet is that Javadoc documentation becomes leveraged for two purposes: documenting the as-built API and keeping the design documentation up to date.

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