Special Coverage

Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators
Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines
Vibration Tables Shake Up Aerospace and Car Testing
Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water
Computer Chips Calculate and Store in an Integrated Unit
Electron-to-Photon Communication for Quantum Computing
Mechanoresponsive Healing Polymers
Variable Permeability Magnetometer Systems and Methods for Aerospace Applications
Evaluation Standard for Robotic Research

Web-Based Environment for Maintaining Legacy Software

“Advanced Tool Integration Environment” (“ATIE”) is the name of both a software system and a Web-based environment created by the system for maintaining an archive of legacy software and expertise involved in developing the legacy software. ATIE can also be used in modifying legacy software and developing new software. The information that can be encapsulated in ATIE includes experts’ documentation, input and output data of tests cases, source code, and compilation scripts. All of this information is available within a common environment and retained in a database for ease of access and recovery by use of powerful search engines. ATIE also accommodates the embedment of supporting software that users require for their work, and even enables access to supporting commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software within the flow of the experts’ work.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Computer software and hardware

Mapped Landmark Algorithm for Precision Landing

A report discusses a computer vision algorithm for position estimation to enable precision landing during planetary descent. The Descent Image Motion Estimation System for the Mars Exploration Rovers has been used as a starting point for creating code for precision, terrain-relative navigation during planetary landing. The algorithm is designed to be general because it handles images taken at different scales and resolutions relative to the map, and can produce mapped landmark matches for any planetary terrain of sufficient texture. These matches provide a measurement of horizontal position relative to a known landing site specified on the surface map. Multiple mapped landmarks generated per image allow for automatic detection and elimination of bad matches. Attitude and position can be generated from each image; this image-based attitude measurement can be used by the onboard navigation filter to improve the attitude estimate, which will improve the position estimates.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Imaging and visualization, Entry, descent, and landing

Grid Task Execution

IPG Execution Service is a framework that reliably executes complex jobs on a computational grid, and is part of the IPG service architecture designed to support location-independent computing. The new grid service enables users to describe the platform on which they need a job to run, which allows the service to locate the desired platform, configure it for the required application, and execute the job. After a job is submitted, users can monitor it through periodic notifications, or through queries.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Architecture, Computer software and hardware

Knowledge Base Editor (SharpKBE)

The SharpKBE software provides a graphical user interface environment for domain experts to build and manage knowledge base systems. Knowledge bases can be exported/translated to various target languages automatically, including customizable target languages. The tool enhances current practices by minimizing reliance on toolsmiths for system workflow management, and also improves the quality and maintenance of those systems by reducing the number of errors within the knowledge bases. This tool’s primary capability is in the area of expert systems modeling, specifically where there is a need to capture and efficiently manage large quantities of domain information (see figure).

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Computer software and hardware, Systems management

Simulating Operations at a Spaceport

SPACESIM is a computer program for detailed simulation of operations at a spaceport. SPACESIM is being developed to greatly improve existing spaceports and to aid in designing, building, and operating future spaceports, given that there is a worldwide trend in spaceport operations from very expensive, research-oriented launches to more frequent commercial launches. From an operational perspective, future spaceports are expected to resemble current airports and seaports, for which it is necessary to resolve issues of safety, security, efficient movement of machinery and people, cost effectiveness, timeliness, and maximizing effectiveness in utilization of resources.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Computer simulation, Air transportation facilities, Logistics, Spacecraft

Web-Based Real-Time Emergency Monitoring

The Web-based Real-Time Asset Monitoring (RAM) module for emergency operations and facility management enables emergency personnel in federal agencies and local and state governments to monitor and analyze data in the event of a natural disaster or other crisis that threatens a large number of people and property. The software can manage many disparate sources of data within a facility, city, or county. It was developed on industry-standard Geo- Spatial software and is compliant with open GIS standards.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Analysis methodologies, Internet, Data management, Personnel, Hazards and emergency management, Hazards and emergency operations

Parallel Computing With Satellite Orbit Analysis Program

This software innovation speeds up the computation time of the Satellite Orbit Analysis Program (SOAP) tool by parallelizing the code using the message- passing interface (MPI) library. The speed increases almost linearly with the number of processors, allowing the perstudy duration of the visualization and analysis of space missions to take place in hours, rather than overnight. The software can conduct a parametric study involving millions of design vectors in a few hours of computational time by distributing the design scenarios among multiple processors. This allows SOAP to run in a parallel mode on JPL’s new, high-performance computer cluster, which has 1024 Intel Xeon processors.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Analysis methodologies, Computer software and hardware

Periodic, On-Demand, and User-Specified Information Reconciliation

POUR is a framework that accepts periodic information updates, collects information on demand, and accepts user-specified information while presenting a single unified view to the user. The primary functionality of POUR is through its query interface. A query consists of any number of XPaths, where each XPath returns a list of XML strings that satisfies the query. Depending on the XPaths specified and the contents of the POUR database, query processing may be as simple as a database lookup, or as complex as a series of queries down a POUR hierarchy to a set of POUR repositories that compute the requested information on the fly before the appropriate results are returned.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Data acquisition and handling

Information Metacatalog for a Grid

SWIM is a Software Information Metacatalog that gathers detailed information about the software components and packages installed on a grid resource. Information is currently gathered for Executable and Linking Format (ELF) executables and shared libraries, Java classes, shell scripts, and Perl and Python modules. SWIM is built on top of the POUR framework, which is described in the preceding article. SWIM consists of a set of Perl modules for extracting software information from a system, an XML schema defining the format of data that can be added by users, and a POUR XML configuration file that describes how these elements are used to generate periodic, ondemand, and user-specified information.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Computer software and hardware

Automated Sequence Generation Process and Software

“Automated sequence generation” (autogen) signifies both a process and software used to automatically generate sequences of commands to operate various spacecraft. Autogen requires fewer workers than are needed for older manual sequence-generation processes and reduces sequence-generation times from weeks to minutes. The autogen software comprises the autogen script plus the Activity Plan Generator (APGEN) program. APGEN can be used for planning missions and command sequences. APGEN includes a graphical user interface that facilitates scheduling of activities on a time line and affords a capability to automatically expand, decompose, and schedule activities. The autogen script performs the following tasks:

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Computer software and hardware, Spacecraft

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