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Real-time data system: Incorporating new technology in mission critical environmentsIf the Space Station Freedom is to remain viable over its 30-year life span, it must be able to incorporate new information systems technologies. These technologies are necessary to enhance mission effectiveness and to enable new NASA missions, such as supporting the Lunar-Mars Initiative. Hi-definition television (HDTV), neural nets, model-based reasoning, advanced languages, CPU designs, and computer networking standards are areas which have been forecasted to make major strides in the next 30 years. A major challenge to NASA is to bring these technologies online without compromising mission safety. In past programs, NASA managers have been understandably reluctant to rely on new technologies for mission critical activities until they are proven in noncritical areas. NASA must develop strategies to allow inflight confidence building and migration of technologies into the trusted tool base. NASA has successfully met this challenge and developed a winning strategy in the Space Shuttle Mission Control Center. This facility, which is clearly among NASA's most critical, is based on 1970's mainframe architecture. Changes to the mainframe are very expensive due to the extensive testing required to prove that changes do not have unanticipated impact on critical processes. Systematic improvement efforts in this facility have been delayed due to this 'risk to change.' In the real-time data system (RTDS) we have introduced a network of engineering computer workstations which run in parallel to the mainframe system. These workstations are located next to flight controller operating positions in mission control and, in some cases, the display units are mounted in the traditional mainframe consoles. This system incorporates several major improvements over the mainframe consoles including automated fault detection by real-time expert systems and color graphic animated schematics of subsystems driven by real-time telemetry. The workstations have the capability of recording telemetry data and providing 'instant replay' for flight controllers. RTDS also provides unique graphics animated by real-time telemetry such as workstation emulation of the shuttle's flight instruments and displays of the remote manipulator system (RMS) position. These systems have been used successfully as prime operational tools since STS-26 and have supported seven shuttle missions.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Muratore, John F. (NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Heindel, Troy A. (NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1990
Publication Information
Publication: Space Station Evolution Conference: Abstracts for Technical Sessions
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.