The Multi-User Space (MUS) Link Extension system, a software and data system, provides Space Link Extension (SLE) users with three space data transfer services in timely, complete, and offline modes as applicable according to standards defined by the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS). MUS radically reduces the schedule, cost, and risk of implementing a new SLE user system, minimizes operating costs with a “lights-out” approach to SLE, and is designed to require no sustaining engineering expense during its lifetime unless changes in the CCSDS SLE standards, combined with new provider implementations, force changes.

No software modification to MUS needs to be made to support a new mission. Any systems engineer with Linux experience can begin testing SLE user service instances with MUS starting from a personal computer (PC) within five days. For flight operators, MUS provides a familiar-looking Web page for entering SLE configuration data received from SLE. Operators can also use the Web page to back up a space mission’s entire set of up to approximately 500 SLE service instances in less than five seconds, or to restore or transfer from another system the same amount of data from a MUS backup file in about the same amount of time. Missions operate each MUS SLE service instance independently by sending it MUS “directives,” which are legible, plain ASCII strings. MUS directives are usually (but not necessarily) sent through a TCP–IP (Transmission Control Protocol–Internet Protocol) socket from a MOC (Mission Operations Center) or POCC (Payload Operations Control Center) system, under scripted control, during “lights-out” spacecraft operation. MUS permits the flight operations team to configure independently each of its data interfaces; not only commands and telemetry, but also MUS status messages to the MOC.

Interfaces can use single- or multiple-client TCP/IP server sockets, TCP/IP client sockets, temporary disk files, the system log, or standard in, standard out, or standard error as applicable. By defining MUS templates in ASCII, the flight operations team can include any MUS system variable in telemetry or command headers or footers, and/or in status messages. Data fields can be arranged within messages in different sequences, according to the mission’s needs. The only constraints imposed are on the format of MUS directive strings, and some bare-minimum logical re - quirements that must be met in order for MUS to read the mission control center’s spacecraft command inputs. The MUS system imposes no limits or constraints on the numbers and combinations of missions and SLE service instances that it will support simultaneously. At any time, flight operators may add, change, delete, bind, connect, or disconnect.

This work was done by Toby Perkins of Honeywell Technology Solutions Inc. for Goddard Space Flight Center. GSC-16091-1

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

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

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