MARS is a graphical user interface (GUI) written in MATLAB and Java, allowing the user to configure and control the Scalable Parallel Architecture for Real-Time Acquisition and Analysis (SPARTAA) data acquisition system. SPARTAA not only acquires data, but also allows for complex algorithms to be applied to the acquired data in real time. The MARS client allows the user to set up and configure all settings regarding the data channels attached to the system, as well as have complete control over starting and stopping data acquisition. It provides a unique “Test” programming environment, allowing the user to create tests consisting of a series of alarms, each of which contains any number of data channels. Each alarm is configured with a particular algorithm, determining the type of processing that will be applied on each data channel and tested against a defined threshold. Tests can be uploaded to SPARTAA, thereby teaching it how to process the data.

MARS was developed as a front-end GUI for setup, control, and plotting of data from SPARTAA. The system was designed to monitor spectral components in real time from instrumentation located on high-speed rotational hardware (primarily high-pressure turbo-pumps), and to issue cut commands to a facility if preset levels were violated. However, the system is not limited to rotational hardware, and can be used to monitor any level of frequency information from a myriad of instrumented test hardware. The control software allows the user to configure the system easily to support testing of various configurations with multiple alarms, voting logic, and sensor validation.

The uniqueness of MARS is in its capability to be adaptable easily to many test configurations. Test hardware measurement limits (i.e. vibration, pressure, temperature, etc.) can be predetermined, and MARS can be used to set up and support quickly any test configuration. Multiple alarms with various timings can be configured within minutes, as opposed to previous software modifications. MARS sends and receives protocols via TCP/IP, which allows for quick integration into almost any test environment. The use of MATLAB and Java as the programming languages allows for developers to integrate the software across multiple operating platforms.

This work was done by Corbin Holland of Marshall Space Flight Center. For more information, contact Sammy Nabors, MSFC Commercialization Assistance Lead, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. MFS-32905-1

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the March, 2013 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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