The Distributed Observer network (DON) is a NASA-collaborative environment that leverages game technology to bring three-dimensional simulations to conventional desktop and laptop computers in order to allow teams of engi-

neers working on design and operations, either individually or in groups, to view and collaborate on 3D representations of data generated by authoritative tools such as Delmia Envision, Pro/Engineer, or Maya. The DON takes models and telemetry from these sources and, using commercial game engine technology, displays the simulation results in a 3D visual environment.

DON has been designed to enhance accessibility and user ability to observe and analyze visual simulations in real time. A variety of NASA mission segment simulations [Synergistic Engineering Environment (SEE) data, NASA Enterprise Visualization Analysis (NEVA) ground processing simulations, the DSS simulation for lunar operations, and the Johnson Space Center (JSC) TRICK tool for guidance, navigation, and control analysis] were experimented with. Desired functionalities, [i.e. Tivo-like functions, the capability to communicate textually or via Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) among team members, and the ability to write and save notes to be accessed later] were tar-

geted. The resulting DON application was slated for early 2008 release to support simulation use for the Constellation Program and its teams.

Those using the DON connect through a client that runs on their PC or Mac. This enables them to observe and analyze the simulation data as their schedule allows, and to review it as frequently as desired. DON team members can move freely within the virtual world. Preset camera points can be established, enabling team members to jump to specific views. This improves opportunities for shared analysis of options, design reviews, tests, operations, training, and evaluations, and improves prospects for verification of requirements, issues, and approaches among dispersed teams.

This work was done by Michael Conroy, Rebecca Mazzone, William Little, and Priscilla Elfrey of Kennedy Space Center; David Mann of ASRC Aerospace; and Kevin Mabie, Thomas Cuddy, Mario Loundermon, Stephen Spiker, Don Whiteside, Frank McArthur, Tate Srey, and Dennis Bonilla of Valador Inc. For further information, contact the Kennedy Innovative Partnerships Program Office at (321) 861-7158. KSC-13081

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the June, 2010 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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