Multimission Advanced Communications Hybrid Environment for Test and Evaluation (MACHETE) is a suite of software tools that simulates the behaviors of communication networks to be used in space exploration, and predict the performance of established and emerging space communication protocols and services. MACHETE consists of four general software systems: (1) a system for kinematic modeling of planetary and spacecraft motions; (2) a system for characterizing the engineering impact on the bandwidth and reliability of deep-space and in-situ communication links; (3) a system for generating traffic loads and modeling of protocol behaviors and state machines; and (4) a system of user-interface for performance metric visualizations.

The kinematic-modeling system makes it possible to characterize space link connectivity effects, including occultations and signal losses arising from dynamic slant-range changes and antenna radiation patterns. The link-engineering system also accounts for antenna radiation patterns and other phenomena, including modulations, data rates, coding, noise, and multipath fading. The protocol system utilizes information from the kinematic-modeling and link engineering systems to simulate operational scenarios of space missions and evaluate overall network performance. In addition, a Communications Effect Server (CES) interface for MACHETE has been developed to facilitate hybrid simulation of space communication networks with actual flight/ground software/ hardware embedded in the overall system.

This work was done by Loren Clare, Esther Jennings, Jay Gao, John Segui, and Winston Kwong of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free on-line at under the Software category.

This software used in this innovation is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Karina Edmonds of the California Institute of Technology at (818) 393-2827. Refer to NPO-41373.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the August, 2005 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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