The KSC Electronic Documentation System (KEDS) is a computer-intranet system at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) for the storage and retrieval of engineering drawings and other engineering documents that have been officially released. Prior to the development of the KEDS, microfilm copies of engineering documents were stored in an archive at the Engineering Document Center (EDC) in the KSC headquarters building; engineers and drafters had to travel from remote sites to the EDC to view microfilm images of drawings, and the cost of fulfilling requests for documents (including printing paper copies) was considerable.
The KEDS makes it possible for customers at remote locations equipped with personal computers running any Windows operating system to retrieve the documents via the World Wide Web (WWW), view the documents, and generate paper copies on their own computer printers. Microfilm copies of documents are mounted on Hollerith aperture cards that are punched with data that identify the documents. The aperture cards are then scanned to digitize the images and the resulting image data are stored on a scan-server computer. Once a document has thus been scanned into the KEDS, there is no further need to handle either the original paper copy or a microfilm copy other than to place it in the archive. Thereafter, requests for the document copies can be fulfilled from the scanned, digitized version of the document.
The KEDS document data are eventually transferred from the scan-server to a file-server computer, where they are stored in a read-only format. The file server is a DEC VAX computer located within KSC's Internet "firewall," which allows access by KSC personnel and other authorized customers only. The KEDS utilizes the standard Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) for efficient transfer of electronic requests from, and images to, customers' personal computers. An application program for viewing KEDS scanned images was developed by, among other things, incorporating a commercial viewer program, with suitable regard for licensing requirements. The KEDS WWW home page provides a fully automated software-download feature, eliminating the need for costly technical-support visits to customer sites.
A customer can gain access to the KEDS through any standard WWW browser program. Once the KEDS home page is displayed on a customer's computer screen, the customer can obtain instructions for downloading and configuring the KEDS viewer software. The KEDS server gathers identifying information entered by the customer via a download-request page; this information is stored in a data base. Once the customer has downloaded and configured the viewer software, the customer types in a number that identifies a package of engineering documents; in response, a list of available drawings and/or other documents is displayed. When the user selects the drawing sheet or other document from the list, the viewer software is invoked automatically.
The user software provides options for panning, zooming, rotating, printing, and cut-and-paste operations on a displayed KEDS image. By use of the cut-and-paste option, the image can be inserted easily into documents produced by other Windows-based application programs, including spreadsheet and word-processing programs. The standard Windows printer-interface forms can be used for local and/or networked printing of any view of a drawing.
This work was done by Donna L. Pancho, Richard Hall, and Dale L. Hirchert formerly of EG&G Florida, Inc., for Kennedy Space Center. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free on-line at www.nasatech.com/tsp under the Information Sciences category.
Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to
the Technology Programs and Commercialization Office
Kennedy Space Center
Refer to KSC-11958.