Spacecraft and instruments run using specialized operational software, tailored to specific missions and instruments. Operational software acts a bit like the health systems in a body, ensuring that temperature, energy levels, and other parameters on the spacecraft or instrument are running in an acceptable range. The software monitors the health of on-board systems; anything unusual is flagged and sent to mission operators who can look into potential causes and solutions.
The operational software that we use, almost all of which was created in-house, is available to other operations groups for their use. Our operational software falls in four categories, further detailed below: Command and Control, Telemetry Data Processing, Engineering Analysis, and Quality and Status Monitoring.
Operations and Science Instrument Support Command Control (OASIS-CC) software
OASIS-CC is used for spacecraft and instrument operations in the Mission Operations Centers. One primary copy of this software runs at the work area occupied by the Command Controller, generally a student member of Flight Operations, which is the only copy to capture real-time telemetry data from the spacecraft and issue commands to the spacecraft. The OASIS Interface Software (OIS) is a front-end for OASIS-CC that handles ground communications with the stations.
Telemetry Data Processing (TDP) software
TDP provides Level-0 processing of all telemetry data and Level-1 processing of engineering data. There are three sources of raw telemetry data that are subjected to Level-0 processing: engineering housekeeping data received in real-time during a contact between the MOC and the spacecraft; recorded engineering housekeeping data played back during a contact; and recorded science data played back during a contact.
Telemetry Checking, Analysis and Display (TCAD) software
TCAD provides an easy-to use interface to the Level-1 engineering database. The TCAD software allows engineers to display any measurement(s) from the telemetry database. The software can be run interactively which allows users to automatically generate plots or tables after each contact.
Telemetry Quality and Status Monitor (TQSM) software
TQSM is used to alert the flight team to situations needing their attention. This includes out-of-limit conditions or state violations in engineering telemetry data, or problems in processing data on the ground. The TQSM software is used to alert operations personnel by pages and emails of spacecraft or instrument anomalies. The automation level can be selected based upon science requirements.