The Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) Facilities Functional Review web site provides dynamic electronic publication of select portions of MSFC’s facility-management database. This is a user-friendly site that provides a comprehensive view of all relevant facility and program information in a format that integrates plans, costs of operations, conditions of facilities, utilization of facilities, capabilities for research and development in each facility, research and development investments, capital investments, and organizational responsibilities. The site was developed to assist managers at all organ- izational levels in making decisions regarding capital investments and program plans.

The MSFC Facilities Functional Review Web Site, implemented by several computer hardware and software subsystems, dynamically publishes a facility-management database.
The figure is a simplified schematic diagram of the major functional blocks of the web site and the relationship between the web site and a client. The software used to administer the site is a combination of World Wide Web (WWW) -based server software and computer-aided design (CAD)-based database-management software. The software and hardware components of the web site and the parts of the database to which they pertain are summarized as follows:

  • The SPAN-FM software is used to manage data on property and space. These are stored in an Oracle database that resides on an Intergraph Pentium server computer running the Microsoft Windows NT Server operating system.
  • The WWW server is another Intergraph Pentium computer running the Microsoft Windows NT Server operating system and version 4.0 of the Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) software, which is part of the NT4.0 Option Pack. This portion of the software has been configured for intranet only; that is, to restrict access to clients located at MSFC.
  • The dynamic portions of the web site use the Microsoft Active Server Pages Scripting Engine (ASP) software for a Common Gateway Interface (CGI). (ASP is also a component of the NT 4.0 Option Pack.) All programs involved in delivering the dynamic content via the WWW are written in Visual Basic script and are implemented through this scripting engine. The scripts are processed on the server side and are delivered to clients in standard Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) so that any common browser software and operating system can be used to gain access the information on the site.
  • Database connectivity between ASP and Oracle is achieved through Microsoft ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) software. The ODBC and Oracle drivers provide seamless access to the SPAN-FM data in Oracle from the web site.
  • Facility floor plans are designed by using the Intergraph Corporation’s Project Architect software to generate MicroStation (Bentley Systems) design files. These design files are packaged and viewed by use of Intergraph Corporation’s Digital Print Room Software.

By means of this web site, capital investment and program plans are traceable to each facility and vice versa. The site saves time that would otherwise have to be spent investigating or searching for information needed to make decisions. The basic design of this web site could be adapted to aid managers of other large institutions who need rapid access to comprehensive information for making decisions of a capital-investment nature.

This work was done by James Wyckoff and Debra Hendon of Marshall Space Flight Center and Donna Robinson and Brian Dial of Intergraph Corp. For further information, please contact Caroline Wang, MSFC Software Release Authority at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the July, 2002 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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