AAS Meeting #194 - Chicago, Illinois, May/June 1999
Session 44. Computation and Data Analysis
Display, Tuesday, June 1, 1999, 10:00am-7:00pm, Southwest Exhibit Hall

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[44.02] The SOFIA Mission Control System Software

G. M. Heiligman, D. R. Brock, S. D. Culp, P. H. Decker, J. C. Estrada, J. B. Graybeal, D. M. Nichols, P. R. Paluzzi, P. J. Sharer (Sterling Software, Inc.), R. J. Pampell, B. L. Papke, R. D. Salovich, S. B. Schlappe, K. K. Spriestersbach, G. L. Webb (Raytheon Systems Co.)

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) will be delivered with a computerized mission control system (MCS). The MCS communicates with the aircraft's flight management system and coordinates the operations of the telescope assembly, mission-specific subsystems, and the science instruments. The software for the MCS must be reliable and flexible. It must be easily usable by many teams of observers with widely differing needs, and it must support non-intrusive access for education and public outreach. The technology must be appropriate for SOFIA's 20-year lifetime.

The MCS software development process is an object-oriented, use case driven approach. The process is iterative: delivery will be phased over four "builds"; each build will be the result of many iterations; and each iteration will include analysis, design, implementation, and test activities. The team is geographically distributed, coordinating its work via Web pages, teleconferences, T.120 remote collaboration, and CVS (for Internet-enabled configuration management).

The MCS software architectural design is derived in part from other observatories' experience. Some important features of the MCS are:

* distributed computing over several UNIX and VxWorks computers

* fast throughput of time-critical data

* use of third-party components, such as the Adaptive Communications Environment (ACE) and the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA)

* extensive configurability via stored, editable configuration files

* use of several computer languages so developers have "the right tool for the job". C++, Java, scripting languages, Interactive Data Language (from Research Systems, Int'l.), XML, and HTML will all be used in the final deliverables.

This paper reports on work in progress, with the final product scheduled for delivery in 2001. This work was performed for Universities Space Research Association for NASA under contract NAS2-97001.

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