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New Uprgaded SOFIA Platform Interface System Passes Verification & Validation Testing - Set for Science Flights
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New Uprgaded SOFIA Platform Interface System Passes Verification & Validation Testing - Set for Science Flights

On January 8-9, the Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy's (SOFIA) new upgraded Platform Interface System (PIS), which commands the SOFIA Telescope Assembly (TA), passed the observatory’s Verification & Validation (V&V) tests during Line Operations on the aircraft. In the words of the SOFIA Deputy Project Manager, “The PIS software upgrade is light years better than the previous version. Everyone I talked to is excited to start using it next week on the High-Resolution Airborne Wideband Camera Plus (HAWC+) series far-infrared camera and imaging polarimeter. No one wants to revert to the old system.” The new improved PIS system will support science flights for the first time starting January 14th.

BACKGROUND: In 2014, the Intelligent Systems Division was tasked with standing up a NASA team comprised of developers from Ames Research Center (ARC) and Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) to maintain PIS, which took L3 Technologies (formerly L-3 Communications) over ten years to develop. It took our ISD-led team over three years to stabilize PIS so that it did not crash multiple times during each science flight. Once PIS was relatively stable, the team obtained the SOFIA Program’s approval to rearchitect and rewrite PIS in 24 months. During this time period, the team held to the schedule and met every milestone, even with the five-week government shutdown last year. Ultimately, the team delivered a new system that is stable and two-to-three orders of magnitude faster than the old system.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) Program, Science Mission Directorate (SMD)

TEAM: Lee Brownston (SGT), Scott Christa (SGT), Steve Culp (Wyle), Brian Curlett (AFRC), Mary Alice Grossman (AFRC), Qi Lin (SGT), Vikie Moore (SGT), John Rasmussen (SGT), Sam Santiago, Hao Thai (SGT), May Windrem, and Enya Yang (SGT); COLLABORATORS: Mike Gross (USRA) and Bill Wohler (Wyle); CUSTOMERS: Astrophysics at large and the Deutsches SOFIA Institut (DSI)

POINT OF CONTACT: May Windrem, may.n.windrem@nasa.gov

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