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
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.
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.
The IV&V Program’s Independent Test Capability team is chartered to acquire, develop and maintain simulation and test environments for NASA’s IV&V Program to enable dynamic analysis of NASA IV&V-supported projects. The team has worked with Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM), James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), International Space Station, Juno, Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV), Autonomous Flight Safety System (AFSS) and Goddard Mission Services Evolution Center (GMSEC).
The IV&V Program’s Independent Test Capability team had the opportunity to compete in the 2012 NASA Software of the Year competition. The competition is sponsored by the NASA Chief Engineer, the NASA Chief Information Officer and the NASA Office of Safety and Mission Assurance. The purpose of the competition is to allow the agency to recognize and appreciate NASA’s team members who set high standards for significant software that is creative, usable, transferable and possesses inherent quality.
The competition requires that teams prepare and submit a significantly large packet of information detailing the characteristics of the software including commercialization potential, uniqueness and creativity, to name a few. In addition to the packet submission, each team prepares and gives a 30 minute presentation on the software. Initial submissions are evaluated at each respective NASA center and final submissions are evaluated by a software advisory panel, with representatives from across the agency.
It was an honor for the Independent Test Capability team to be involved in this competition and to represent the IV&V Program and Goddard Space Flight Center. The team received honorable mention recognition and was the first submission from the IV&V Program. Thank you to everyone that supported the submission and especially those who provided peer reviews and letters of support. The team looks forward to its next opportunity to compete!
Independent Test Capability Team NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation Program