The fundamental idea behind the Mission Control Technologies (MCT) project is to build software from pieces that can be assembled by end users to create integrated visualizations. Applications are eliminated in favor of compositions of live data objects that can be combined in different ways for different users and missions as required, in contrast to the more traditional software development method of pre-determining functionality and building a monolithic application. This new approach has the potential to change how users design, deploy, and maintain mission system software.

Current software, built as monolithic applications, is inflexible and difficult to modify, leaving users to adapt to software problems and create operational workarounds. Functions are duplicated across applications, and monolithic architecture makes it difficult to re-factor existing software to meet needs. There is also a high cost to reconfigure or change current software.

MCT presents users with an environment of composable data objects for integration and display. A data object is a visualization of a domain object. Examples include telemetry, activities, procedures, and images. Data objects may be assembled and combined into cross-domain displays. The Desktop version of MCT was released as open-source software in 2014. Core objectives of the open-source effort are to enable collaboration, open up the software to outside innovation, and stimulate a community of open-source mission operations participants and contributors. Making the software open-source has enabled collaborations not previously possible. Open MCT Web is a new release designed for deployment and use as an online Web application. The code may be found on Git Hub at here .

This work was done by Jay Trimble, Victor Woeltjen, Charles Hacskaylo, Pete Richards, Andrew Henry, and Mark Shirley of Ames Research Center. This software is available for use. To request a copy, please visit here . ARC-15256-1D

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the May, 2017 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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