Odyssey Space Research Provides Guidance and Navigation Services for NASA Missions
Odyssey Space Research, LLC is a dynamic woman-owned small business located at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. This company provides engineering research, analysis, guidance, navigation, and control services for NASA missions. Their expertise includes the design of spacecraft systems, propulsion systems, and spacecraft guidance and navigation systems.
Developing and extending spacecraft flight software applications
The onboard computer in spacecrafts controls the platform, payloads, and other onboard devices. It also communicates with the ground and other onboard computers. The onboard software is typically written very close to the hardware in languages such as assembly language, Ada, C, or C++. As hardware capabilities improve, the spacecraft software will need to expand to accommodate these capabilities.
Developing and extending spacecraft flight software is a complex process. A number of factors must be considered, from the embedded processor board to the source code. Embedded processor boards vary widely in size, weight, power, and software support. Developing and extending spacecraft flight software requires a multi-disciplinary approach. One method is the use of a core flight system architecture (CFS), which provides scalability and portability.
The OPS-SAT mission will have a suite of applications developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) in collaboration with Dr. Cesar Coelho. However, traditional spacecraft flight software development is conservative and limited to a small team of experts. It also imposes many limitations, including hardware constraints and the criticality of space missions.
One open source solution for this purpose is Poliastro. Poliastro is an open-source Python library that allows developers to develop spacecraft flight software applications. It supports lunar, interplanetary, and deep-space missions, and it also performs orbital debris assessments. There are also several commercial solutions available to facilitate spacecraft flight software.
In spacecraft flight software applications, communication is crucial, both to the ground station and to the mission control center. The communication between processors occurs over a software pipeline and a software bus. Applications subscribe to messages on the software bus. The messages are formatted in telemetry and command packets. These messages are defined by communication protocols, such as the Open Systems Interconnection Model (OSIM).
The flight software in spacecraft consists of two basic components, the operating system and the application software. The operating system manages computer hardware and software resources. It also provides common services for computer programs. For example, it keeps track of time, schedules tasks, and manages mass storage and processor time. It also interfaces with the embedded hardware through input/out interfaces.
cFS is an open architecture flight software framework that is used on human and flagship spacecraft. Using the cFS framework allows a user community to develop and extend FSW applications. This framework also contains specifications for component suppliers. Open source cFS distributions are available through the OSK (Open Source Kit) project.
The F Prime framework was initially developed to support spacecraft flight software. Later, the framework was extended to search for exoplanets. The components of F Prime are listed in Table 2. These components have become an integral part of the F Prime framework. The next mission of the NEA Scout will fly by a near-earth asteroid. The images from NEA Scout will help researchers understand the composition of asteroids.
End-to-end flight software development supports both embedded and desktop environments. The goal is to minimize the gap between the two environments and facilitate the reiteration of flight applications. One example is the use of Python for desktop prototyping, which wraps C/C++ algorithm source code. Another example of an end-to-end flight software development project is the Basilisk software testbed.
Creating a CFA framework for spacecraft mission operations is a good way to integrate multiple independent services. This approach enables the use of common infrastructure, enabling CFA to be platform-agnostic. It can also support multiple operating systems and allow services to move from one computing node to another.
Supporting vehicle guidance, navigation and control (GN&C), simulation development, and related analysis
The Orbital Sciences Corporation Cygnus cargo vehicle is being developed to provide cargo services to the International Space Station. The project is a joint venture with Odyssey Space Research and Draper Laboratory, which has provided support for the development process. Throughout the development process, safety has been an important consideration. This paper describes an approach to designing safe trajectories for this mission.
The NRC report “Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science for the Decade 2013-2022” describes how future missions may be achieved. These missions may include innovative interplanetary trajectories, precision landing, and advanced robotic surface exploration.
The SCIFLI team is a multi-organizational team comprised of scientists, engineers, and subject matter experts. The team has an established track record of producing flight-true datasets. It embodies NASA Agency-level capabilities in the generation of engineering data. Their contributions will help validate the design tools and validate the performance of uncrewed spacecraft.
Supporting vehicle guidance, navigation, and control (GN&C), simulation development and related analysis in Odyssey space research is a multi-disciplinary course aimed at spacecraft systems engineers and graduate students. The course is structured to provide a comprehensive understanding of fundamental concepts in astrodynamics and GNC. Students who complete the course will receive an AIAA course completion certificate.
SCIFLI team includes experts in multiple disciplines, including aerodynamics and dynamics. The team also oversees the remote engineering data collection process. The team supports NASA’s mission architectures and technical capabilities, including guidance, navigation, and control.
Supporting vehicle guidance, navigation, and control (GN&C), simulation development and related analysis in Odyssey space research involves simulation and analysis of hardware and software. The GNC hardware provides sensor data to the software. The software in the GNC supports a number of functions, including the control system and avionics.
The Apollo spacecraft guidance system was designed in response to concerns about Soviet interference. The guidance system needed to be autonomous in case of interference. However, the MIT I/L engineers didn’t like this autonomy. In addition, they were concerned about the risk of Soviet interference during launch.
Currently, Kelly McLaughlin is a project support manager for the OSIRIS-REx mission. She also supports NASA’s planetary, astrophysics, and heliophysics missions. She has worked with operational missions since 2009, and previously supported the Global Precipitation Measurement mission during its development phase. She is passionate about outdoor activities and spending time with her husband and two rescue dogs.
In the development of this software, numerous quality assurance procedures were implemented. As a result, many problems were detected. For example, the guidance equations needed a more accurate approximation of pi. Further, a more complex geometry was required for the braking phase.
Supporting vehicle guidance, navigation and control (V&C) systems, simulation development, and related analysis for Odyssey space research is a core part of the project. These systems are responsible for the safety of the astronauts. They also help the spacecraft perform mission tasks.