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Space Communications Emulation FacilityEstablishing space communication between ground facilities and other satellites is a painstaking task that requires many precise calculations dealing with relay time, atmospheric conditions, and satellite positions, to name a few. The Space Communications Emulation Facility (SCEF) team here at NASA is developing a facility that will approximately emulate the conditions in space that impact space communication. The emulation facility is comprised of a 32 node distributed cluster of computers; each node representing a satellite or ground station. The objective of the satellites is to observe the topography of the Earth (water, vegetation, land, and ice) and relay this information back to the ground stations. Software originally designed by the University of Kansas, labeled the Emulation Manager, controls the interaction of the satellites and ground stations, as well as handling the recording of data. The Emulation Manager is installed on a Linux Operating System, employing both Java and C++ programming codes. The emulation scenarios are written in extensible Markup Language, XML. XML documents are designed to store, carry, and exchange data. With XML documents data can be exchanged between incompatible systems, which makes it ideal for this project because Linux, MAC and Windows Operating Systems are all used. Unfortunately, XML documents cannot display data like HTML documents. Therefore, the SCEF team uses XML Schema Definition (XSD) or just schema to describe the structure of an XML document. Schemas are very important because they have the capability to validate the correctness of data, define restrictions on data, define data formats, and convert data between different data types, among other things. At this time, in order for the Emulation Manager to open and run an XML emulation scenario file, the user must first establish a link between the schema file and the directory under which the XML scenario files are saved. This procedure takes place on the command line on the Linux Operating System. Once this link has been established the Emulation manager validates all the XML files in that directory against the schema file, before the actual scenario is run. Using some very sophisticated commercial software called the Satellite Tool Kit (STK) installed on the Linux box, the Emulation Manager is able to display the data and graphics generated by the execution of a XML emulation scenario file. The Emulation Manager software is written in JAVA programming code. Since the SCEF project is in the developmental stage, the source code for this type of software is being modified to better fit the requirements of the SCEF project. Some parameters for the emulation are hard coded, set at fixed values. Members of the SCEF team are altering the code to allow the user to choose the values of these hard coded parameters by inserting a toolbar onto the preexisting GUI.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Document Type
Hill, Chante A.
(Tennessee State Univ. Nashville, TN, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Publication Information
Publication: Research Symposium I
Subject Category
Space Communications, Spacecraft Communications, Command And Tracking
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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