Success in mission operations relies on achieving consensus amongst a wide variety of personnel with diverse backgrounds and education. Previously, NASA missions relied on disparate tools with a variety of inconsistent interfaces. These tools greatly influence how members of the mission communicate with each other, increasing confusion and reducing consensus. Ensemble provides a shared interface that helps scientists and engineers of differing disciplines to collaborate effectively. Within a single tool, Ensemble allows scientists and engineers to efficiently discuss objectives and understand the tradeoffs between exploration and discovery.

At the start of Ensemble’s development, an open, cross-center, and cross-platform operations software suite did not exist at NASA. By creating Ensemble, software development teams from different centers could collaborate to reuse common capabilities and development infrastructures, significantly reducing duplication of effort. In addition, before Ensemble, mission operators were forced to interact with a large number of inconsistent interfaces to accomplish their work. Ensemble provides a unified, consistent interface that provides the mission operations community common ground for discussion, facilitating communication and collaboration.

Ensemble provides powerful and intuitive user interfaces for all aspects of space mission operations including activity planning/scheduling, command generation, telemetry monitoring, and 2D/3D data visualization. These user interfaces are supported by an extensible and scalable service-oriented backend providing cloud-enabled data processing, secure collaboration, resource modeling, and efficient content delivery. Ensemble is the first multi-directorate operations software suite to provide a single end-to-end interface for visualization, planning, and command generation on a deep space mission. Ensemble consolidates numerous graphical user interfaces into a single, seamlessly integrated workbench that leverages modern UI (user interface) standards and practices. These integrated systems ease training and ensure that all team members have access to all of the capabilities that they require.

Furthermore, Ensemble tools for different missions share a common look and feel, easing the transition of personnel between projects.

This work was done by Jeffrey S. Norris, Mark W. Powell, David S. Mittman, Thomas M. Crockett, Joseph C. Joswig, Recaredo J. Torres, Ryan R. Goetz, David S. Knight, and Megan C. Mickelson of Caltech; Khawaja S. Shams of Amazon; Jessica J. Marquez and Alonso H. Vera of ARC; Ivonne M. Deliz Morales of ASRC Research and Technology Solution; Guy Pyrzak of eHealthInsurance Inc.; Kenneth J. Rabe, Lucy Abramyan, and Andrew G. Bachmann of Google; Melissa J. Ludowise of Hearsay Social; Steve R. Hillenius of IPA-ARC; Jason M. Fox of Nimble Storage; Michael P. McCurdy of Plex Inc.; Robert A. Nado, Alfredo J. Bencomo, Tamar E. Cohen, Brian W. Yu, and Eugene Turkov of Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies Inc.; Michael N. Wallick of TekSystems; Arash Aghevli of Twitter Inc.; Bob Kanefsky of University of California Santa Cruz; and James A. Kurien for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Dan Broderick at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Refer to NPO-49104.

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).

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This article first appeared in the September, 2015 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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