Special Coverage

Home

Faster Processing for Inverting GPS Occultation Data

A document outlines a computational method that can be incorporated into two prior methods used to invert Global Positioning System (GPS) occultation data [signal data acquired by a low-Earth-orbiting satellite as either this or the GPS satellite rises above or falls below the horizon] to obtain information on altitude-dependent properties of the atmosphere. The two prior inversion methods, known as back propagation and canonical transform, are computationally expensive because for each occultation, they involve numerical evaluation of a large number of diffraction-like spatial integrals. The present method involves an angular-spectrum-based phase-extrapolation approximation in which each data point is associated with a plane-wave component that propagates in a unique direction from the orbit of the receiving satellite to intersect a straight line tangent to the orbit at a nearby point. This approximation enables the use of fast Fourier transforms (FFTs), which apply only to data collected along a straight-line trajectory. The computation of the diffraction-like integrals in the angular-spectrum domain by use of FFTs takes only seconds, whereas previously, it took minutes.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

Determining Sizes of Particles in a Flow From DPIV Data

The same equipment would be used to measure sizes as well as velocities. A proposed method of measuring the size of particles entrained in a flow of a liquid or gas would involve utilization of data from digital particle-image velocimetry (DPIV) of the flow. That is to say, with proper design and operation of a DPIV system, the DPIV data could be processed according to the proposed method to obtain particle sizes in addition to particle velocities.

Posted in: Briefs

Read More >>

Simultaneous Product Development Provides a New Approach to Design Collaboration

This approach enables sharing and merging of any element of a digital model, and allows collaborative data to flow in any direction. Product development is becoming increasingly global and as a result, new challenges have emerged,such as coordinating geographically dispersed teams of suppliers and partners. Consequently, the modern enterprise is more similar to a network of interconnected nodes that work in parallel and need constant dynamic synchronization. The widespread adoption of digital design documents, the introduction of collaboration tools like Web-based review and mark-up, and Internet-accessible databases have made design data more readily available.

Posted in: Briefs

Read More >>

Discrepancy Reporting Management System

Discrepancy Reporting Management System (DRMS) is a computer program designed for use in the stations of NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) to help establish the operational history of equipment items; acquire data on the quality of service provided to DSN customers; enable measurement of service performance; provide early insight into the need to improve processes, procedures, and interfaces; and enable the tracing of a data outage to a change in software or hardware. DRMS is a Web-based software system designed to include a distributed-database and replication feature to achieve location-specific autonomy while maintaining a consistent high quality of data. DRMS incorporates commercial Web and database software. DRMS collects, processes, replicates, communicates, and manages information on spacecraft data discrepancies, equipment resets, and physical equipment status, and maintains an internal station log. All discrepancy reports (DRs), Master discrepancy reports (MDRs), and Reset data are replicated to a master server at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Master DR data are replicated to all the DSN sites; and Station Logs are internal to each of the DSN sites and are not replicated. Data are validated according to several logical mathematical criteria. Queries can be performed on any combination of data.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

Analyzing Contents of a Computer Cache

The Cache Contents Estimator (CCE) is a computer program that provides information on the contents of level-1 cache of a PowerPC computer. The CCE is configurable to enable simulation of any processor in the PowerPC family. The need for CCE arises because the contents of level-1 caches are not available to either hardware or software readout mechanisms, yet information on the contents is crucial in the development of fault-tolerant or highly available computing systems and for realistic modeling and prediction of computing-system performance. The CCE comprises two independent subprograms: (1) the Dynamic Application Address eXtractor (DAAX), which extracts the stream of address references from an application program undergoing execution and (2) the Cache Simulator (CacheSim), which models the level-1 cache of the processor to be analyzed, by mimicking what the cache controller would do, in response to the address stream from DAAX. CacheSim generates a running estimate of the contents of the data and the instruction subcaches of the level-1 cache, hit/miss ratios, the percentage of cache that contains valid or active data, and time-stamped histograms of the cache content.

Posted in: Briefs

Read More >>

MER SPICE Interface

MER SPICE Interface is a software module for use in conjunction with the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission and the SPICE software system of the Navigation and Ancillary Information Facility (NAIF) at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (SPICE is used to acquire, record, and disseminate engineering, navigational, and other ancillary data describing circumstances under which data were acquired by spaceborne scientific instruments.) Given a Spacecraft Clock value, MER SPICE Interface extracts MER-specific data from SPICE kernels (essentially, raw data files) and calculates values for Planet Day Number, Local Solar Longitude, Local Solar Elevation, Local Solar Azimuth, and Local Solar Time (UTC). MER SPICE Interface was adapted from a subroutine, denoted m98SpiceIF written by Payam Zamani, that was intended to calculate SPICE values for the Mars Polar Lander. The main difference between MER SPICE Interface and m98SpiceIf is that MER SPICE Interface does not explicitly call CHRONOS, a time-conversion program that is part of a library of utility subprograms within SPICE. Instead, MER SPICE Interface mimics some portions of the CHRONOS code, the advantage being that it executes much faster and can efficiently be called from a pipeline of events in a parallel processing environment.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

Ground Support Software for Spaceborne Instrumentation

ION is a system of ground support software for the ion and neutral mass spectrometer (INMS) instrument aboard the Cassini spacecraft. By incorporating commercial off - the - shelf database, Web server, and Java application components, ION offers considerably more ground - support - service capability than was available previously. A member of the team that operates the INMS or a scientist who uses the data collected by the INMS can gain access to most of the services provided by ION via a standard point-and click hyperlink interface generated by almost any Web-browser program running in almost any operating system on almost any computer. Data are stored in one central location in a relational database in a non-proprietary format, are accessible in many combinations and formats, and can be combined with data from other instruments and space-craft. The use of the Java programming language as a system-interface language offers numerous capabilities for object-oriented programming and for making the database accessible to participants using a variety of computer hard-ware and software.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

Read More >>