AOSS is a highly efficient scheduling application that uses various tools to schedule astronauts’ weekly appointment information. This program represents an integration of many technologies into a single application to facilitate schedule sharing and management. It is a Windows-based application developed in Visual Basic. Because the NASA standard office automation load environment is Microsoft-based, Visual Basic provides AOSS developers with the ability to interact with Windows collaboration components by accessing objects models from applications like Outlook and Excel. This also gives developers the ability to create newly customizable components that perform specialized tasks pertaining to scheduling reporting inside the application. With this capability, AOSS can perform various asynchronous tasks, such as gathering/sending/managing astronauts’ schedule information directly to their Outlook calendars at any time. AOSS users use this specific appointment information entered in the application to generate reports and to keep track of active NASA astronauts’ whereabouts at all times.

AOSS can send or retrieve astronauts’ schedule information via their individual Outlook calendars with a two-part process called PUSH and PULL. This process, along with weekly operational procedures agreed to by the users and current astronaut corps staff, delivers optimal scheduling processing performance. AOSS also provides the ability to create reports, statistics, and situation information for many NASA offices. Displays of the software are designed to be functional and familiar by using the same format design to ensure ease of use.

The software is composed of three main components — AOSS Application, AOSS Web, and AOSS Database. In the application, this is the main data entry point where most of the AOSStypical transactions occur. AOSS users and the AOSS application perform data manipulation, reporting, and changes here. The application is the main lifeline between the user and the database. The AOSS Web function allows users to use a Web browser environment to view information, print results, and transact with the results of data entered in the AOSS database. This component contains a mixture of html and asp pages.

The main operation of the database is to hold data entered through the application component and to provide secure access to this information by qualified AOSS users, customers, and management. The database was developed in SQL and is held within an SQL server database environment. Using this system eliminates the need to prepare paper schedules and the time it takes to distribute them to the astronauts as well as ensuring a faster delivery of updates and schedule changes.

This work was done by Estevancio Brown of United Space Alliance for Johnson Space Center. For more information, download the Technical Support Package (free white paper) at under the Software category. MSC-24384-1

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the May, 2010 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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