Lockheed Martin and CSOC Partners Demonstrate Model Architecture For Future Space Operations
HOUSTON, TX, January 21st, 1998 -- At a demonstration held this morning for senior NASA officials, representatives from Lockheed Martin, AlliedSignal, and Computer Sciences Corporation demonstrated a working model of NASA's future space operations. The model features a communications network using NASA's Advanced Communications Technology Satellite to connect a simulated scientific spacecraft in Cleveland, Ohio, to an advanced control center in Houston. The advanced control center showcases autonomous ground and spacecraft operations. The demonstration was assembled as a part of the Lockheed Martin team's response to NASA's Consolidated Space Operations Contract (CSOC) Request for Proposal.
The demonstration network highlights several architecture components that will provide flexible and reliable space operations at dramatically lower cost. These components include autonomy of spacecraft housekeeping and scheduling, and extensive use of industry standard networking hardware based on Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) and TCP/IP, the protocol at the heart of the modern Internet. All of the networking hardware featured in the demonstration is commercially available off-the-shelf.
"Today's demonstration showcases the value of the Lockheed Martin team's decades of spaceflight experience in leveraging modern spacecraft, communications, and information technology to cut the cost of space operations," said Peter S. Teets, Lockheed Martin President and Chief Operating Officer. "CSOC is an excellent way for NASA to take advantage of the out-of-the-box thinking shown today, and we look forward to working with the agency to change the very nature of science in space."
The simulated spacecraft, equipped with an on-board ATM switch and IP router, is connected to the control center through an operational satellite link carried over NASA's Advanced Communications Technology Satellite situated in geostationary orbit at 100 degrees west longitude. The link between the simulated spacecraft and its supporting control center is a high-rate asymmetrical link emulating NASA's Tracking & Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS).
The simulated spacecraft integrates its components and subsystems with an internal local area network. The onboard computer, with a file system and network compatible operating system transforms the spacecraft into a modern distributed data system. Placing this architecture on orbit with TCP/IP/ATM- based communications enables direct access to payload instruments and realizes the goal of spacecraft as sites on an Intranet. The powerful processor and full operating system also permit sophisticated Intelligent Agent software to execute onboard for maximum autonomy. Data collected as raw telemetry on current spacecraft can be processed onboard the future vehicle into information directly usable by the science end-users.
Transfer of information from space-to-ground is accomplished by the File Transfer Protocol (FTP), providing guaranteed delivery of critical scientific data.
Providing equipment and support to the Lockheed Martin team for the demonstration were Adtech, Cisco Systems, COMSAT Laboratories, FORE Systems, General DataComm, Microsoft, Newbridge Networks, Secant Network Technologies, and Sun Microsystems.