Flight Operations Analysis Tool (FLOAT) is a computer program that partly automates the process of assessing the benefits of planning spacecraft missions to incorporate various combinations of launch vehicles and payloads (see figure). Designed primarily for use by an experienced systems engineer, FLOAT makes it possible to perform a preliminary analysis of trade-offs and costs of a proposed mission in days, whereas previously, such an analysis typically lasted months. FLOAT surveys a variety of prior missions by querying data from authoritative NASA sources pertaining to 20 to 30 mission and interface parameters that define space missions. FLOAT provides automated, flexible means for comparing the parameters to determine compatibility or the lack thereof among payloads, spacecraft, and launch vehicles, and for displaying the results of such comparisons. Sparseness, typical of the data available for analysis, does not confound this software. FLOAT effects an iterative process that identifies modifications of parameters that could render compatible an otherwise incompatible mission set.

The Database Overview shows current and future capabilities.

This program was written by Robert Easter, Linda Herrell, Richard Pomphrey, James Chase, Julie Wertz Chen, Jeffrey Smith, and Rebecca Carter of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free on-line at www.techbriefs.com/ tsp under the Software category.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Karina Edmonds of the California Institute of Technology at (626) 395-2322. Refer to NPO-42306.