The tools of COSMOS are the software applications with which the human operators interact to control COSMOS and the mission operations processes. Each of the tools is described below.
There needs to be a way to monitor and control the operation of the entire COSMOS system and possible to launch or terminate various COSMOS tools. The COSMOS EXECUTIVE OPERATOR (CEO) fulfills this function. It shows which elements of COSMOS are running, which mission they are controlling, their current status and level of activity. From the CE you can start up any of the COSMOS tools and transfer into that tool if desired as a new computer session, which will put the CEO into background mode, possibly within a separate window if desired. The CEO also provides another function – it is the way to monitor multiple satellites and ground stations simultaneously from a single tool.
The Mission Planning and Scheduling Tool (MPST) converts mission status and tasking inputs into executable command loads or sequences, schedules, and timelines. The MPST functional block diagram is shown in the following figure. The MPST provides a top-level interface to the mission planner (human) and consists of the following major functions: Scheduler, optional operational plan optimizer (ACPT), Timeliner, and Command Script Generator (CSG).
The Scheduler takes various inputs and generates long-term and short-term schedules and the plan of which tasks need to be done during upcoming orbits. Inputs include the overall Mission Plan, which defines what needs to be accomplished during various phases of the mission; the status of the spacecraft and ground network and any associated constraints or tasking that are required; and task requests from customers, engineers, etc. A draft schedule is built using orbital event data generated by the Ephemerator. This schedule along with the mission MOEs derived from Mission Payload Data form a draft plan which may be passed to the optional optimizer tool, which checks constraints, collection opportunities, and optimizes the plan. The final optimized plan is then returned to the Scheduler. If the optimizer tool is not used, the Scheduler does basic deconfliction and constraint checking. The schedules are sent to the MOT and the orbital plan is sent to the Timeliner.
Automated Collection Planning Tool
The Automated Collection Planning Tool (ACPT) is a payload data collection planning tool developed by Riverside Research. It was originally developed for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), supporting Research and Development effort for long term satellite mission collection and mission trend analysis. Since then, it was modified to support the Multispectral Thermal Imaging (MTI) satellite, the USAF’s TACSAT-3, and other NGA efforts. The program is designed to provide collection feasibility analysis and collection planning, while optimizing satellite mission utility given satellite specific and customer defined constraints. ACPT offers a user-friendly interface to support a customized approach to collection planning. It also offers a comprehensive interface to adjust mission specific settings, and an open database interface supporting an open architecture for external programs. ACPT currently supports LEO imaging missions, but its capabilities are expanding. It accounts for satellite collection constraints (sensor field of view, resolution, memory, solar exclusion), customer target collection requirements to include (temporal, azimuth, elevation, Ground Sample Distance, solar, and lunar, periodicity, weather), and offers an operator-defined customized collection strategy.
In order to allow ACPT to support other missions within COSMOS, ACPT is being modified, especially its interfaces and level of automation. ACPT continues to be updated and will soon include a complex Power-Management Module. Current applications assume the collection constraints were intentionally restrained to ensure power availability and do not maximize satellite operational capability. Other ACPT customers are requesting a much more extensive capability to include complex power management in order to maximize satellite operational utility. Other areas of ACPT modifications benefiting COSMOS include: enhanced swath analysis, uplink/downlink data management, and requirement/product management to support the customer monitoring from data request to data delivery. Integration of updated versions of ACPT will be handled through the COSMOS Configuration Management process.
Timeliner and Command Script Generator
The Timeliner generates a human-readable form of the events and commands to be performed by the spacecraft during an upcoming time period, usually either for an orbit or a day, depending on the length of the orbital period and requirements of the mission. The Timeliner first populates the timeline with the orbital events provided by the Ephemerator. It then adds in the tasking events that were provided in the orbital plan from the Scheduler. The Mission Planner then makes any adjustments that are necessary to fulfill the purposes of the time covered by the timeline. The Timeline has an in-built error detection capability, which tests the timeline sequence for syntax or functional errors while checking mission constraints.
Once the initial timeline is complete, it is passed to the Command Script Generator (CSG). Another version of the timeline is produced in a form that is readable by MOST. The CSG converts the timeline into a command sequence or script that is readable by the flight software on the spacecraft and in the simulators/OTB. This command script can then be run on the software simulators, the results of which are passed back to the Mission Planner through the MPST. If adjustments need to be made, then they can be done in the Timeliner. Once the command script has been verified through the simulators, and high fidelity verification can then be done using the OTB. Once the OTB has verified the commands make the spacecraft perform as expected, the command script/sequence is passed to the Data Management System (DMS) where it is combined with other files needed to be uploaded to the spacecraft (called flat files) to form a command load. This command load is passed to the Ground Network, while the timeline itself for this period is sent to the MOT.
The Mission Operations Support Tool (MOST) is the primary visualization tool of COSMOS and is designed specifically for supporting real-time operations. However, MOST can also be used for supporting the following major operations functions: (1) spacecraft & payload monitor & control; (2) mission planning; (3) simulations & rehearsals; (4) trending & analysis; and (5) anomaly resolution.
MOST is based on the LUNOPS program that was developed to support both LEO and lunar operations for the Clementine mission in 1994.4 Features of LUNOPS were incorporated into the design of some JPL mission operations software. LUNOPS was designed by the COSMOS project manager, who is also the designer of MOST.
The MOST overview screen has five basic functions. (1) Displays a timeline with past and future events, including loaded commands. (2) Displays subsystem and payload status. (3) Provides a visual/graphical display of the satellite orbit and attitude. (4) Detects anomalies and display warnings pertinent to satellite conditions. (5) Sends real-time commands to the satellite.
The MOST display consists of a timeline chart, several diagrams and text boxes, and two 3D windows. The timeline chart (Mission Events Display) shows the past and future events, both orbit related and command related.
To learn more about MOST follow this link: COSMOS Mission Operations Support Tool
The Ground Segment Control Tool (GSCT) is a graphical interface to the ground network. GSCT includes all the pertinent information of each ground station, such as location, antenna type, contact information as well as a status for the ground station. The GSCT displays the ground station configuration for an upcoming contact (e.g., which files are waiting for upload, frequency setting, ephemeris file used for open-loop tracking). It also allows monitoring of the ground station status during a contact, displaying the antenna pointing angles, actual versus predicted antenna pointing, carrier signal detection and lock status, signal strength and data rate, etc. GSCT also allows the user in the MOC to send commands to the ground station as required.
GSCT is designed to view the ground segment/network data in a manner that allows the user to understand the information quickly and easily. It is possible to view all of the ground stations on a map with their statuses easily discernable. The input to GSCT comes from users, MOST and the customers. The output goes to the customers and the DMS.
Files are the primary method of data flow between elements of COSMOS. Central storage and dissemination of the files is through a Data Management System (DMS) whose function is to:
The DMS will be able to manage multiple spacecraft, distinguishing between them by spacecraft designator. It stores both informational data, and longitudinal data, such as payload data and telemetry. Longitudinal data are accessible by date of creation.
The DMS is split between a Data Management Agent (DMA), and a Data Management Tool (DMT). The DMA stores files in a simple directory structure, receiving them via standard file transfer protocols. These files are available either through the local file system, in the case of the MOC, or through standard file transfer protocols.
Control of the DMA is through a GUI-based control program, the DMT. The DMT allows monitoring and control of the DMA, as well as adding additional features for analyzing data storage and flow.