IV&V Intern Morgan Novak

Hi, my name is Morgan Novak. I am from a small town in southeast Texas called Hamshire. With Hamshire’s population of about 1500, my household takes up a whopping 1%. As the second oldest of way too many siblings, coming to West Virginia was a nice change in scenery. It is so beautiful here!

This year I will be a sophomore at the University of North Texas. I am double majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and minoring in Math. I am interested in both the hardware and software side of things. I love learning more about new topics/ideas and showing that knowledge off in hackathons.

In my free time I play soccer with my friends and family and last year I coached my little sister’s team. This year, however, I was low on free time due to starting my own company. I am currently testing the second prototype of my product before I pursue anything further.

Getting an internship here has been dream come true! I have wanted to work for NASA ever since I was little. In my junior year of high school, I participated in the Texas High school Aerospace Scholars (HAS) program where I got to stay at JSC for a week and work with real engineers. Participating in these two opportunities has sealed the deal; after graduating from UNT my goal is to get a full time position contributing to the advancement of space travel.

 

IV&V Intern Colette Boileau

Summer intern Colette Boileau, 22, is currently a senior at Michigan Technological University studying engineering management. As part of a 4th grade class assignment, Boileau was asked to dress up as a famous person from her home state, Michigan. She decided to dress as astronaut Jack Lousma, who was from Grand Rapids, MI. She created a makeshift astronaut spacesuit, pictured below, and gave her presentation to the class, not knowing that someday she’d be spending her summer working at NASA!

Boileau applied for several NASA internships, not knowing what exactly she wanted to do.

“I knew I wanted to make a difference and be a part of something bigger than myself,” Boileau said. “I felt that NASA would provide me that experience and allow me to combine what I’ve learned in school with something I’m really passionate about.”

Boileau says she has no idea where she will end up in life, but she’s looking forward to figuring that out and intends to stay open-minded! For now, she hopes that she will end up as an employee working in project management and helping to bridge the gap between technical work and business.

IV&V Intern Adison Nordstrom

Name: Adison Nordstrom
Age: 20
Education and year in school: Rising junior at West Virginia University
Area of study or intended area of study: Computer science major, physics minor
Unique fact about you: I swam competitively for 10-11 years.
What brought you to NASA? I applied for a 2016 summer internship here, got it, and now I’m back for a second summer.
Where you see yourself after you enter into your career? Hopefully software development, either with a tech company or with NASA.

IV&V Intern Sydney Michalski

Sydney Michalski, a sophomore at West Virginia University (WVU), is originally from Fairmont, West Virginia. She’s currently working on her double undergraduate major in English and mathematics. She’s also part of WVU’s Uteach program, which will allow her to receive her teaching certificate upon graduation. During the school year and when she’s not in class, she works at the university’s student center, the Mountainlair, as a building supervisor for Night Operations. In the summers, she’s usually working at the local ice cream shop, the Dairy Crème Corner in Fairmont, as a shift leader. Of course this summer she’s working with NASA’s IV&V folks to help gain a better understanding of where she’d like to go after graduation. Sydney likes to unwind by dabbling in pottery and hopes to make a full kitchen set for when she moves into her first apartment this year.

Sydney says she wanted to work at NASA’s IV&V Program, because she had a lot of friends who spent their summer interning at the program and told her that had great experiences. Sydney sees herself working in the education field in some capacity, whether it be in the public school system, with an education program at NASA, or anything else that will let her positively influence young kids, especially girls, to enter STEM fields with confidence.

 

 

Space Flight Design Challenge ROCKSAT C-17 Update

SPFC Mission Patch-RSC-17In an effort to provide students with the stepping stones necessary to carry out the goals of the Space Flight Design Challenge, academic institutions have been provided with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through RockSat-C. The NASA IV&V Space Flight Design Challenge is an initiative aimed towards engaging students of West Virginia in the STEM disciplines needed to successfully build and test critical systems. By enhancing the knowledge and capabilities of students through hands-on spacecraft development, they will be enabled to compete in the development of their own flight systems in space. Primarily, the overall goal of this initiative is to foster innovative advancements in both high school and college students across the nation. As a result, students will be equipped to compete in the fabrication & operation of flight systems in Low Earth Orbit via amateur radio operations.

Through RockSat-C, students and mentors can actively participate in the design & build phases of their own scientific payload. Inevitably, this payload will be launched on a sounding rocket out of Wallops Flight Facility at the close of the academic school year. The fall semester is comprised of engaging students in the full design & review process whilst the primary goal of spring semester is to prepare each team for the Launch Readiness Review. In order to do so successfully, each of the payloads will undergo multiple phases of testing and integration to ensure its suitability for flight.

This year’s Rock Sat-C mission statement:

   “To embark on a collaborative effort with academic institutions across the state of West Virginia for development and expansion of knowledge and practical experience in designing, building, launching, and operating space payloads.”

In order to accomplish this vision, our teams have developed a variety of experiments that will inevitably benefit the small sat community. Of those scientific payloads are:

  1. Bridge Valley Community Technical College Stain Gauge Experiment
    1. Objective: To measure strain on a series of material samples and model flight path
  2. West Virginia University Langmuir Probe Experiment
    1. Objective: Measure plasma density in upper atmosphere
  3. Blue Field State College Vehicle and Inertial Measurement and Tracking Experiment
    1. Objective: To gather real-time flight data & Use this data to determine the flight path, trajectory, altitude, and rotation of the rocket
  4. Fairmont State University Flight Dynamics Analysis Experiment
    1. Objective: To capture and store real-time flight data, then show the flight path.
  5. Blue Ridge Community Technical College PiGen (Piezo Electric Generator) Experiment
    1. Objective: To measure the output of 3 Piezoelectric generators on the X Y and Z axis with 2 ADCs.
  6. West Virginia Wesleyan College Harvest Energy Experiment

    1. Objective: To harvest energy by using a Thermocouple and Piezoelectric crystal on the rocket flight.

Isometric ViewDimetric View

Shown above is an Isometric (top) and Dimetric (bottom) view of the canister. (Image by Roger Targosky)

Throughout the Conceptual, Preliminary, and Critical Design review, WV-SPACE has displayed both scientific merit & a feasible implementation plan. At this point the payload has been largely cleared by COSGC and Wallops Flight Facility and has been selected to fly in canister #5 and share space Oregon Institute of Technology. The payload is projected to launch aboard a Terrier-Improved Orion sounding rocket on June 22nd 2017.

Manifest

We would also like to send ours thanks to NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation Program for supporting our student outreach initiatives and congratulate all of our dedicated teams for being a part of the Space Flight Design Challenge and cleared for launch.

Team_Photo

Emily Certain | Student Trainee
NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation Program

 

 

 

 

 

 

White Hall Elementary School Mighty Builders Team Wins West Virginia’s First Spacecraft LEGO Challenge

This fall, White Hall Elementary School in White Hall, W.Va., sponsored a First Lego League Junior (FLL Jr.) team.  Eleven fourth-grade team members and two coaches met twice a week for several months to develop a LEGO model, poster and presentation to illustrate what they learned as part of this year’s CREATURE CRAZE Challenge.  As part of their meetings, the Mighty Builders participated in West Virginia’s First Spacecraft LEGO Challenge.

Suder Blog Entry_STF1 Lego Winners
Image Credit: Mark Suder

The challenge fit naturally into the learning the students were doing as part of the CREATURE CRAZE Challenge.

“The team and building rules were similar to what we were doing for FLL Jr., and the kids needed to begin learning about our WeDo LEGO set, how the motors and sensors work, and how to program it, so this challenge seemed like a natural fit for our meetings,” coach Mark Suder said.

With the guidance of their coaches, the kids split into several teams to create LEGO satellite models, then chose one to add motors, sensors and a brain to.  Following the addition of and learning about these parts, the kids brainstormed about the questions that were posed to them for West Virginia’s First Spacecraft LEGO Challenge.  Those questions were:

  1. What you want to have in West Virginia’s second spacecraft and why?
  2. What is different from your LEGO STF-1 and NASA’s LEGO STF-1 and why?
  3. How do CubeSats affect space exploration around the world?
Suder Blog Entry_STF1 Lego Winners 2
Image Credit: Mark Suder

“Creative, energetic, smart, enthusiastic!  Those are the words I would use to describe the students,” Suder said. “As the coach, I have been both proud and inspired to be part of this team.  These kids are the future of the country, and with all the negative news these days it is neat to see that there is also a lot of hope for the future based on these inspirational young people of today.  Besides, who doesn’t like playing with LEGOs?”

The team was incredibly excited to learn that they had won the First Spacecraft LEGO Challenge and was excited to tour NASA IV&V and receive their first place prize.

In addition to the tour, and to both congratulate and celebrate the accomplishments of this team, NASA’s IV&V Program invited the students, their teachers, as well as the school’s principal to attend IV&V’s Internal Award Event. The students were presented with certificates of appreciation, and in return, presented IV&V’s Director Greg Blaney, as well as the program, with a thank you card from the team.

20161213-Christmas Auction Party_00036
Image Credit: Clayton Peachey
20161213-Christmas Auction Party_00037 Award group Mighty Builders
Image Credit: Clayton Peachey

Mark Suder | Systems Analyst
NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation Program

JWST Team Earns Honorable Mention in NASA Software of the Year Competition

IV&V SOY_2016
Image Credit: Bailee Miller

The NASA Software of the Year competition is an annual competition sponsored by the Offices of the Chief Engineer, Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA), and the Chief Information Officer.  Software teams across each of the NASA centers submit software applications and suites submit an extensive application detailing their software, all software project documentation, reference letters, SMA documentation, and associated publications. The teams give a presentation at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. and then the applications and presentations are reviewed by a special Software Panel with representatives from across the agency. The applications are reviewed on the software’s innovativeness, impact, and usability. 

In 2016, the Jon McBride Software Testing and Research (JSTAR) team submitted the James Webb Space Telescope Integration Simulation and Test (JIST) software for consideration and was the sole representative for Goddard Space Flight Center and IV&V Program. JIST is a software-only simulation environment of the JWST Spacecraft that provides the capability to exercise the unmodified flight software binaries as delivered from the JWST development organizations.  JIST is comprised of software from multiple organizations and includes software from nine separate development teams. To demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of a JIST-like solution, a new instance of JIST can be deployed for approximately $10,400; whereas to deploy a hardware-equivalent environment, the cost would be approximately $1,019,087, a cost reduction of 99%.

In 2016, seven centers competed in the competition. JIST received honorable mention in the competition and the co-winners were from Langley Research Center (Traffic Awareness Planner) and Ames Research Center (Pegasus 5.2: Software for Automated Pre-Processing of Overset CFD Grids). 

A special thank you goes to everyone who supported the team through JIST usage, reference letters, and peer reviews of application materials and presentations. In addition, thank you to Enidia Santiago and Sia Argue from the GSFC technology office for supporting the nomination and the team in its submission. It is a great honor, and we were proud to represent GSFC and IV&V. 

 

Justin Morris
Computer Engineer
NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation Program

IV&V Awaits Juno’s Jupiter Orbit Insertion

The average person may not be able to identify every planet in our solar system; however, most will recognize Jupiter, due to its enormous size and Great Red Spot.  This giant planet is the fifth planet from our sun and is also the largest planet in our solar system. It is named after the king of the gods from Roman mythology.

PIA02873

To explore and better understand it’s evolution, NASA created the mission, Juno. While an attempt to make the mission name an actual acronym, Juno is simply named after the wife of the king of the gods, Jupiter. The spacecraft will investigate the planet’s origins, interior structure, deep atmosphere and magnetosphere. Juno’s study of Jupiter will help us to understand the history of our own solar system and provide new insight into how planetary systems form and develop in our galaxy and beyond.

Juno’s payload includes the following:

  • A gravity/radio science system (Gravity Science)
  • A six-wavelength microwave radiometer for atmospheric sounding and composition (MWR)
  • A vector magnetometer (MAG)
  • Plasma and energetic particle detectors (JADE and JEDI)
  • A radio/plasma wave experiment (Waves)
  • An ultraviolet imager/spectrometer (UVS)
  • An infrared imager/spectrometer (JIRAM)
  • Color camera (JunoCam) – JunoCam is not necessary for scientific purposes; however, it will likely provide the public with what should be some of the most vivid images of the giant planet ever captured.

The figure below shows the Juno orbiter along with additional details.

567922main_junospacecraft0711

We worked alongside with the development team for four years, sometimes at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, and sometimes at Lockheed Martin in Denver, Colorado. We all came to admire the elegant, intricate mission design, and the profound and complex science objectives. While none too great to overcome, there were certainly challenges we faced everywhere. Often, these challenges were the small things that were the most difficult. The overall design and implementation was nearly unchanged from the beginning days. For our IV&V team, it was a project where we all learned new ways of describing and viewing our work. An open mind was required at all times, and creativity was at a premium. In the end we were successful, and that made the launch even more amazing.

On August 5, 2011, NASA launched the Juno spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It was a blistering hot and humid day typical for Florida this time of year. A couple of the team members from the Juno IV&V team were lucky enough to attend the launch. It was very exciting, especially never having attended a launch before. There were a couple of planned holds during the countdown, however, during one of these, there was a helium leak discovered on the ground system that threatened the launch to be canceled. Everyone waited anxiously while the intense heat from the sun continued to beat down. A bold and overheated member of our group talked the refreshment stand out of a bucket of ice which we promptly stuffed into our hats and shirts in order to cool down. It was effective, but we looked like shipwreck survivors. Making matters worse, a boat ventured into a restricted area and had to be escorted out of the area before the launch could proceed. Fortunately, these issues were resolved before the launch window expired, and the Juno countdown continued. At T-0, the Atlas V launch vehicle blasted off.  Speakers mounted near the spectators allowed the crowed to start to hear the rumblings from the rocket real time. The static-like sound intensified until overtaken by the actual thundering sounds from the rocket once the sound waves made their way across the bay. The rocket seemed to hover at first, but quickly accelerated. After a short time, the rocket was out of sight.  It was a tremendous relief to see the rocket leave our view without any sign of an anomaly. However, the bigger relief was about an hour later when we heard that the Juno separated successfully from the launch vehicle.

Nearly five years later, Juno is scheduled to reach Jupiter on July 4, 2016 during the maneuver called Jupiter Orbit Insertion (JOI). JOI is the most risky step remaining in the mission. This type of maneuver can and has failed on past missions. So even though the IV&V team was able to develop significant confidence that the flight software would successfully support this maneuver, there still exists a possibility that something could go wrong. However, we’ll all be anxiously awaiting this JOI and look forward to the data that will come following the 37 orbits the craft will make around this giant planet.

Charlie Broadwater | Engineer
Sam Brown | IV&V Analyst
NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation Program

STF-1 Update 2

The Simulation-to-Flight 1 (STF-1) team has been making significant progress since the last blog post. As per the primary mission objective, some software-only simulators have been developed and are currently released as version 1 NOS3 or the NASA Operational Simulator for Small Satellites. These simulators will aid in flight software development that is currently underway.  The current focus is on developing the core applications that will drive the mission. This development phase will last for approximately three months before integration and testing begins. The clean room that will be used by STF-1 has been completed and is ready to accept components that have already started arriving. Below is a picture of the cleanroom ready for the ribbon cutting ceremony here in the coming weeks.

Clean Room

The components have already been arriving and are nearly ready to begin testing. The science teams have already begun designing systems and PCBs that will perform the experiments. The current component status can be seen in the table below. Each science team at West Virginia University (WVU) has been working diligently to meet the delivery date at the end of this year so that testing can begin.

Hardware Status
Onboard Computer Received
Solar Cells Received
Power System Ordered
Chassis Ordered
ITC Designed Solar Panel PCBs Designed – Out for Quote
Radio Ordered
Clean Room Assembled and Setup for Ribbon Cutting
Deployable Antenna Ordered
Camera Received

The anatomy of the spacecraft is depicted below. The chassis selected is the Innovative Solutions In Space three unit design.  This allows for each unit, or cube, to be assembled independently before full spacecraft integration.  The antenna is also specially designed to fit the chassis, depicted on what is actually the bottom of the spacecraft that is upside down in the picture.  Having the antennas on the underside of the spacecraft allows for use of the extra space, nicknamed the tuna can due to its size, in the launcher to house the GPS antenna.

Anatomy of STF-1

The Latest from STF-1

The Simulation-to-Flight 1 (STF-1) CubeSat mission aims to demonstrate how legacy simulation technologies may be adapted for flexible and effective use on missions using the CubeSat platform. These technologies, named NASA Operational Simulator (NOS), have demonstrated significant value on several missions such as James Webb Space Telescope, Global Precipitation Measurement, Juno, and Deep Space Climate Observatory in the areas of software development, mission operations/training, verification and validation (V&V), test procedure development and software systems check-out. STF-1 will demonstrate a highly portable simulation and test platform that allows seamless transition of mission development artifacts to flight products. This environment will decrease development time of future CubeSat missions by lessening the dependency on hardware resources. In addition, through a partnership between NASA GSFC, the West Virginia Space Grant Consortium and West Virginia University, the STF-1 CubeSat will host payloads for three secondary objectives that aim to advance engineering and physical-science research in the areas of navigation systems of small satellites, provide useful data for understanding magnetosphere ionosphere coupling and space weather, and verify the performance and durability of III-V Nitride-based materials.

The mission is progressing on schedule and targeting a late 2016 launch. Our initial launch opportunity in November 2016 was not acquired, so the team will continue to work while pursuing another launch opportunity with the NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI). The team still has plenty of work to do. Following a successful Table Top Review in April 2015 the team identified the major components for the spacecraft bus and began procurement. The GOMSpace Nanomind A3200 flight computer, and SolAero Tech solar cells have arrived. We are currently awaiting the delivery of the UHF radio and antenna, spacecraft chassis, and our electrical power systems. Not all of the components are COTS, so the team has carefully designed solar panels and interface cards by leveraging the lessons learned from other GSFC CubeSats. A clean room and lab space have also been secured to be used for the integration and testing of the spacecraft.

STF1_1506_01

The flight software (FSW) for STF-1 is currently in development. The team has branched from the default version of GSFC’s Core Flight Software (cFE/CFS), and has begun integrating applications used on the Dellingr CubeSat mission. CFS has been integrated with the ITC developed simulation software, NOS Engine, to allow for simulation of hardware components either not yet acquired, or still in development. An initial version of the STF-1 Advanced CubeSat Simulation Library (ACSL) was provided, along with a development environment, to the WVU science teams in July. The STF-1 team plans to continue maturing the ACSL as more fidelity is needed to support the FSW development.

Ground Systems support will be provided by NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility located on the coast of Virginia. The STF-1 team has chosen to use the same communications hardware as the other GSFC CubeSats so that ground station support is the same across missions. The 18M dish at Wallops will provide the team with up to 3.0Mbps downlink speed.