Mars Relay operations currently involve several e-mails and phone calls between lander and orbiter teams in order to settle on an agreed time for performing a communication pass between the landed asset (i.e. rover or lander) and orbiter, then back to Earth. This new application aims to reduce this complexity by presenting a visualization of the overpass time ranges and elevation angle, as well as other information. The user is able to select a specific overflight opportunity to receive further information about that particular pass.

This software presents a unified view of the potential communication passes available between orbiting and landed assets on Mars. Each asset is presented to the user in a graphical view showing overpass opportunities, elevation angle, requested and acknowledged communication windows, forward and back latencies, warnings, conflicts, relative planetary times, ACE Schedules, and DSN information.

This software is unique in that it is the first of its kind to visually display the information regarding communication opportunities between landed and orbiting Mars assets. The software is written using ActionScript/FLEX, a Web language, meaning that this information may be accessed over the Internet from anywhere in the world.

This work was done by Michael N. Wallick, Daniel A. Allard, Roy E. Gladden, and Franklin H. Hy of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Daniel Broderick of the California Institute of Technology at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Refer to NPO-47413.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the May, 2011 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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