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The Life Cycle Application of Intelligent Software Modeling for the First Materials Science Research RackMarshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) has been funding development of intelligent software models to benefit payload ground operations for nearly a decade. Experience gained from simulator development and real-time monitoring and control is being applied to engineering design, testing, and operation of the First Material Science Research Rack (MSRR-1). MSRR-1 is the first rack in a suite of three racks comprising the Materials Science Research Facility (MSRF) which will operate on the International Space Station (ISS). The MSRF will accommodate advanced microgravity investigations in areas such as the fields of solidification of metals and alloys, thermo-physical properties of polymers, crystal growth studies of semiconductor materials, and research in ceramics and glasses. The MSRR-1 is a joint venture between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) to study the behavior of different materials during high temperature processing in a low gravity environment. The planned MSRR-1 mission duration is five (5) years on-orbit and the total design life is ten (IO) years. The MSRR-1 launch is scheduled on the third Utilization Flight (UF-3) to ISS, currently in February of 2003). The objective of MSRR-1 is to provide an early capability on the ISS to conduct material science, materials technology, and space product research investigations in microgravity. It will provide a modular, multi-user facility for microgravity research in materials crystal growth and solidification. An intelligent software model of MSRR-1 is under development and will serve multiple purposes to support the engineering analysis, testing, training, and operational phases of the MSRR-1 life cycle development. The G2 real-time expert system software environment developed by Gensym Corporation was selected as the intelligent system shell for this development work based on past experience gained and the effectiveness of the programming environment. Our approach of multi- uses of the simulation model and its intuitive graphics capabilities is providing a concurrent engineering environment for rapid prototyping and development. Operational schematics of the MSRR-1 electrical, thermal control, vacuum access, and gas supply systems, and furnace inserts are represented graphically in the environment. Logic to represent first order engineering calculations is coded into the knowledge base to simulate the operational behavior of the MSRR-1 systems. An example of engineering data provided includes electrical currents, voltages, operational power, temperatures, thermal fluid flow rates. pressures, and component status indications. These type of data are calculated and displayed at appropriate instrumentation points, and the schematics are animated to reflect the simulated operational status of the MSRR-1. The software control functions are also simulated to represent appropriate operational behavior based on automated control and response to commands received by the crew or ground controllers. The first benefit of this simulation environment is being realized in the high fidelity engineering analysis results from the electrical power system G2 model. Secondly, the MSRR-1 simulation model will be embedded with a hardware mock-up of the MSRR-1 to provide crew training on MSRR-1 integrated payload operations. G2 gateway code will output the simulated instrumentation values, termed as telemetry, in a flight-like data stream so that the crew has realistic and accurate simulated MSRR-1 data on the flight displays which will be designed for crew use. The simulation will also respond appropriately to crew or ground initiated commands, which will be part of normal facility operations. A third use of the G2 model is being planned; the MSRR-1 simulation will be integrated with additional software code as part of the test configuration of the primary onboard computer, or Master Controller, for MSRR-1. We will take advantage of the G2 capability to simulate the flight like data stream to test flight software responses and behavior. A fourth use of the G2 model will be to train the Ground Support Personnel that will monitor the MSRR-1 systems and payloads while they are operating aboard the ISS. The intuitive, schematic based environment will provide an excellent foundation for personnel to understand the integrated configuration and operation of the MSRR-1, and the anticipated telemetry feedback based on operational modes of the equipment. Expert monitoring features will be enhanced to provide a smart monitoring environment for the operators. These features include: (1) Animated, intuitive schematic-based displays which reflect telemetry values, (1) Real-time plotting of simulated or incoming sensor values, (3) High/Low exception monitoring for analog data, (4) Expected state monitoring for discrete data, (5) Data trending, (6) Automated malfunction procedure execution to diagnose problems, (7) Look ahead capability to planned MSRR-1 activities in the onboard timeline. And finally, the logic to calculate telemetry values will be deactivated, and the same environment will interface to the incoming data for the real-time telemetry stream to schematically represent the onboard hardware configuration. G2 will be the foundation for the real-time monitoring and control environment. In summary, our MSRR-1 simulation model spans many elements of the life cycle development of this project: Engineering Analysis, Test and Checkout, Training of Crew and Ground Personnel, and Real-time monitoring and control. By utilizing the unique features afforded by an expert system development environment, we have been able to synergize a powerful tool capable of addressing our project needs at every phase of project development.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Rice, Amanda (Raytheon Information and Scientific Services United States)
Parris, Frank (Sverdrup Technology, Inc. Huntsville, AL United States)
Nerren, Philip (Sverdrup Technology, Inc. Huntsville, AL United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2000
Subject Category
Space Processing
Meeting Information
Modeling and Simulation(Denver, CO)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.