This software provides a new capability for landed Mars assets to perform forward link relay through the Mars Express (MEX) European Union orbital spacecraft. It solves the problem of standardizing the relay interface between lander missions and MEX.

The Mars Operations Relay Service (MaROS) is intended as a central point for relay planning and post-pass analysis for all Mars landed and orbital assets. Through the first two phases of implementation, MaROS supports relay coordination through the Odyssey orbiter and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). With this new software, MaROS now fully integrates the Mars Express spacecraft into the relay picture. This new software generates and manages a new set of file formats that allows for relay request to MEX for forward and return link relay, including the parameters specific to MEX.

Existing MEX relay planning interactions were performed via email exchanges and point-to-point file transfers. By integrating MEX into MaROS, all transactions are managed by a centralized service for tracking and analysis. Additionally, all lander missions have a single, shared interface with MEX and do not have to integrate on a mission-bymission basis.

Relay is a critical element of Mars lander data management. Landed assets depend largely upon orbital relay for data delivery, which can be impacted by the availability and health of each orbiter in the network. At any time, an issue may occur to prevent relay. For this reason, it is imperative that all possible orbital assets be integrated into the overall relay picture.

This work was done by Daniel A. Allard, Michael N. Wallick, Roy E. Gladden, and Paul Wang of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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.. NPO-48345

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Mars Express Forward Link Capabilities for the Mars Relay Operations Service (MaROS)

(reference NPO-48345) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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This article first appeared in the September, 2012 issue of Software Tech Briefs Magazine.

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