IV&V’s Contribution to JPSS-1

Update: (Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., Nov. 6, 2017) – The ULA Delta II rocket carrying the JPSS-1 mission for NASA and NOAA is delayed due to a faulty battery. The delay allows the team time to replace the battery on the Delta II booster. The vehicle and spacecraft remain stable. Launch of the JPSS-1 mission is scheduled for no earlier than Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017.

There isn’t just one satellite hovering above Earth that provides humans the ability to constantly monitor the potentially dangerous weather, but rather there are actually several of them. Soon, there will be one more hovering up there when the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) adds JPSS-1, the second of what will be a five-satellite JPSS constellation, when JPSS-1 launches on November 10, 2017. While the construction of the satellite itself was managed by NASA, once it is launched, it will belong to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA operates 16, soon to be 17, satellites in various orbits, ranging from low Earth orbits (LEO), starting at around 200 miles above the Earth, all the way out to geostationary orbits (GEO), which is around 22,000 miles above the Earth. The newest of NOAA’s fleet, JPSS-1, will be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, as Vandenberg provides the best US-based launch location to place JPSS-1 in its own unique LEO orbit, called a “polar sun-synchronous” orbit. This particular type of orbit will allow JPSS-1 to circle the Earth from pole-to-pole at an altitude of about 512 miles above the Earth’s surface, crossing the equator 14 times daily, and allowing for full global coverage with its five onboard weather-hunting instruments twice a day!

What do these instruments do and how do they help me?

The instruments on board JPSS-1 provide real-time environmental data that allow people around the world to make important decisions about protection of life and property, national security, economic interests and vital environmental resources like coasts, oceans and ecological habitats. Of course let’s not forget they also provide some of the essential data for those weather maps your local meteorologist uses on the nightly news. The Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) and Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) are two instruments that work together to provide profiles of atmospheric temperature, moisture and pressure. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) provides daily high-resolution imagery and radiometry across the visible to long wave infrared spectrum (those weather maps that were just mentioned). The Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) uses a spectrometer with UV bands for ozone measurements. Finally, the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) works as a scanning radiometer, which measures reflected sunlight and thermal radiation emitted by the Earth. Versions of all five of these instruments have flown on previous satellites, but all the instruments that are going up on JPSS-1 have been improved since they were last flown. That means that with these upgraded instruments, JPSS-1 will be more effective in forecasting flooding, tropical cyclones, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards and other high-impact weather events, providing more lead time to for Earth’s inhabitants to make important life and property decisions. JPSS-1 will also help in assessment of environmental hazards such as droughts, forest fires, poor air quality, and harmful coastal waters.

How did NASA Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) Program play a part in the development of the JPSS-1 satellite?

In short, our team worked on the “brains” of the satellite, the flight software (FSW). The primary activities in controlling the satellite were split into two different bins, each being handled by its own processor or computer. The computer that handles the control of the spacecraft, such as extending the solar panel, changing spacecraft attitude, or igniting the thrusters to change orbit, is called the Spacecraft Control Processor (SCP). The Command Data Processor (CDP) is the computer that handles the communications of the spacecraft, both externally to the ground network on Earth and internally to all of the spacecraft subsystems, like the instruments. The CDP is additionally responsible for collecting, storing and downloading to Earth the science data that was captured by the five onboard instruments.

IV&V also assessed the CDP interfacing to two of the instruments, VIIRS and CrIS, as those instruments were using a new-to-JPSS data interface, called SpaceWire, to create a connection from the CDP to those instruments. IV&V followed along with and assessed the development of the FSW from the point when requirements were being determined for what the computers needed to do to satisfy the mission objectives, all the way to the point where the completed FSW was loaded onto the computers, connected to other flight hardware, and was tested to see if it worked the way it was supposed to. IV&V made sure the JPSS-1 FSW works as it is supposed to, does not do what it is not supposed to do, and responds as expected when the spacecraft encounters adverse conditions.

Now with JPSS-1 soon to be watching over us all, we will all be able to watch our nightly weather forecast with much more confidence in determining if we will need our umbrella for the following workday.

Jeremy Fienhold
Systems Engineer

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

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.

IV&V's Independent Test Capability Team Competes in 2012 NASA Software of the Year

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