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OCAMS 4 Deployed in JSC Mission Control—Automated Uplink and Downlink of ISS Files

The fourth release of the Orbital Communications Adapter Management System (OCAMS) was successfully deployed for International Space Station (ISS) operations at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) on July 28, 2011. This version completes the automation of routine work in manipulating files onboard the ISS, reducing staffing needs by five engineering personnel for ISS planning console operations. The return on investment for the OCAMS project is approximately $3.2M through 2020.

OCAMS automation in Release 4 is controlled by procedures that instruct the program to uplink and downlink files, delete/move/copy files and folders, run scripts, interpret error logs, and zip/list directories. OCAMS performs these operations by interacting with JSC’s Electronic Flight Note (EFN) system and the SWRDFSH file transfer program. OCAMS also mirrors, archives, and delivers files, and notifies designated personnel and external systems by applying rules deployed in earlier releases. The program is capable of mixed manual and automated operations by observing human operations and carrying out the requisite steps to complete a job. OCAMS also creates a formatted handover log of all shift operations.

BACKGROUND: OCAMS is a distributed multi-agent system, which has been deployed in the JSC backroom for managing file transfers between ground support teams and the ISS crew since July 2008. OCAMS procedures are written in a language that people can read and write, and that formally controls the program’s operation. Procedures are either scheduled for periodic operations (with frequency varying from every few minutes to monthly) or submitted as requests to OCAMS. Customers fill in templates that are generated automatically from the OCAMS procedure library and are made available to mission support disciplines through an Electronic Flight Notes (EFN) menu.

Using server dropboxes, the EFN system, and e-mail, OCAMS monitors and coordinates the approval process among the support personnel, flight director, and a flight officer who manages the program. OCAMS validates customized EFN requests by comparing them to submission requirements and operations permitted by procedures. The OCAMS GUI shows the status of each automated operation and allows manual overrides. Procedures can be marked as requiring step-by-step supervision (in which case OCAMS indicates exactly which files and folders will be modified) or allowed to run automatically. A procedure editor allows creation and revision permissions and automated operations while OCAMS is running. A handover log records all operations performed. The handover log’s content and format are also customizable by rules.

OCAMS is a direct application of the Mobile Agents system developed for NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program (ETDP) of 2002-06. Open architecture and interoperability methods have been generalized to fit the multiple network and security protocols within the Mission Control Center (MCC). This design enables simultaneous operation on multiple OCA clients that interact with SWRDFSH, which queues requests and reports results to the software agents. OCAMS is the first application of intelligent multi-agent system technology in NASA’s mission control operations.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: Intercenter Task Agreement between ARC/TI and JSC/MOD

COLLABORATORS: ARC - Sue Blumenberg (SGT Inc.), Bill Clancey (ARC/FIHMC), Mike Scott (Dell Services), Chin Seah (SGT Inc.), and Ron van Hoof (Dell Services); JSC - Tyler Doubrava (MS4, USA), Tim Hall (DO48), Steve Kirk (DO46/USA), Paul Lansing (FDOC/Lockheed Martin Corp), Erik Madrid (DO48/Lockheed Martin Corp), Dan Owen (FDOC/Lockheed Martin Corp), Chuck Shultz (DA39, Barrios Technology), Jason Toschlog (DO48, USA), and Tyson Tucker (DO47, USA)

Contact: William J. Clancey

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