The MPLM Automated Activation/Deactivation application (MPLM means Multi-Purpose Logistic Module) was created with a three-fold purpose in mind:

  1. To reduce the possibility of human error in issuing commands to, or interpreting telemetry from, the MPLM power, computer, and environmental control systems;
  2. To reduce the amount of test time required for the repetitive activation/deactivation processes; and
  3. To reduce the number of on-console personnel required for activation/ deactivation.

All of these have been demonstrated with the release of the software. While some degree of automated end-item commanding had previously been performed for space-station hardware in the test environment, none approached the functionality and flexibility of this application. For MPLM activation, it provides mouse-click selection of the hardware complement to be activated, activates the desired hardware and verifies proper feedbacks, and alerts the user when telemetry indicates an error condition or manual intervention is required. For MPLM deactivation, the product senses which end items are active and deactivates them in the proper sequence. For historical purposes, an on-line log is maintained of commands issued and telemetry points monitored. The benefits of the MPLM Automated Activation/ Deactivation application were demonstrated with its first use in December 2002, when it flawlessly performed MPLM activation in 8 minutes (versus as much as 2.4 hours for previous manual activations), and performed MPLM deactivation in 3 minutes (versus 66 minutes for previous manual deactivations). The number of test team members required has dropped from eight to four, and in actuality the software can be operated by a sole (knowledgeable) system engineer.

This work was done by Mark A. Poff of The Boeing Company for Kennedy Space Center. For further information, contact the Kennedy Innovative Partnerships Office at (321) 867-1463. Refer to KSC-12653.


NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the March, 2006 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

Read more articles from the archives here.