Each mission needs to develop a Mission Operations System (MOS). Without a standard design to use as a reference, system engineers typically look to a subset of previous missions and develop a system with a mix of heritage, new design, and in some cases, reinvention of existing capabilities. If a reference design were available, mission operations engineers would be able to begin with that reference and add or modify only those portions needed to fulfill a mission’s unique requirements.

Such an approach provides a number of advantages. Reference processes and interfaces facilitate use of common software across multiple missions. Mission Operations Systems based on a reference design will allow missions to be developed and operated using experts who can more readily work multiple missions, or quickly and easily transition from one to another. Lessons learned on one mission can be addressed in the reference design and become available to all future missions. New capabilities needed for a specific mission can be added to a common reference and be made available to many other missions.

The solution is a reference MOS design. The Multi-Mission Operations System (MMOS) is a composable, base lined reference design of a mission operations system. The MMOS is built upon the Mission Service Architecture Framework (MSAF) (described on facing page), an open, extensible framework that is modeled using SysML and BPMN. The MMOS is itself composed of Mission Services, each of which is an adaptable, modular design element that provides necessary functions to the MOS (e.g., planning and analysis for spacecraft systems, real-time mission monitor and control). Development of services is standards-based, and not tied to a specific flight team organizational structure (e.g., team structures). This means that each Mission Service may also be used singly or in combination along with mission-specific components to form a complete MOS.

MMOS is provided as a copy (a plugin) of the reference model as a starting point. The model is then adapted to meet the mission-specific needs. Adaptation training and guidance materials are provided to facilitate this and to provide customer missions with best practices and a description of the methodology. This enables engineers to follow a more predictable development path, and results in a system description that is rigorous, explicit, and self-consistent. Adaptation materials provide step-by-step guidance through use cases and scenarios to requirements, composition, interfaces, agreements, agreement scenarios, and operations processes.

To capture the design of the adapted MOS, system engineering document artifacts are easily generated and published from the MMOS model. These documents include specific, customizable views of the system that address specific system concerns. Document templates, models, and reports are included with the MMOS model for standard products such as the mission operations concept, functional requirements document, operational interface and agreement specifications, system functional descriptions, operations processes, verification and validation matrix, and service- specific operations training plans. Using available plug-ins (docgen and docweb), document artifacts can be generated from the model source and published in a repository for easy accessibility to the model content.

This work was done by Duane L. Bindschadler, Christopher L. Delp, Kathryn A. Schimmels, Elyse Fosse, Robert R. Smith, Victoria Scarffe-Barrett, Shannon E. Mihaly, Daniel Wenkert, Charlene P. Valerio, and John Y. Ibanez of Caltech; and Louise Anderson, Michelle McCullar, and Carlos Carrion for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

This software is available for license through the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and you may request a license at: https://download.jpl.nasa.gov/ops/request/request_introduction.cfm . NPO-49691

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the January, 2017 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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