This software conducts preliminary design studies for spacecraft missions. It supports a collaborative work environment that allows multiple engineers to work simultaneously on the same design. When designing a spacecraft or mission, it is important that each engineer has concurrent data information to ensure consistency in the overall design. However, the complex nature of different subsystems poses a unique problem, because certain inputs require outputs from different subsystems, and all data must be current in order to reach a systematic solution. With ATLAS, when a design is adjusted based on analysis results, new design parameters can be seen by all other clients. Various existing commercial software tools perform similar functions, but none are known to be specifically tailored toward collaborative design of spacecraft missions. ATLAS provides analysis tools with a shared data environment supporting shared work.

The software client was written to allow use of either Excel or Matlab as a front-end interface, enabling engineers to use tools with which they are familiar. The client tools retrieve data from servers, and perform analysis using server-sourced data. A database composed of spacecraft parts and components was implemented using Microsoft Sharepoint, and the mission configuration database uses a Microsoft SQL Server. The software relies on modern APIs (application programming interfaces), and uses single sign-on to improve security. Each mission configuration consists of one or more parameters used to describe the spacecraft and mission. A mission configuration may also inherit from parent mission configurations that decrease development time, a novel feature of ATLAS software.

This work was done by Brian Lewis of Ames Research Center, and Roland Burton of Stanford University.

NASA invites companies to inquire about partnering opportunities. Contact the Ames Technology Partnerships Office at 1-855-627-2249 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Refer to ARC-16674-1.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

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

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