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OCAMS Project on Fast Track for JSC/MOD Deployment

Ames researchers developing the Orbital Communications Adapter Mirroring System (OCAMS) met with Brian Anderson (Chief Engineer, JSC/MOD) on May 7, 2008 in Houston. Anderson has decided to fast-track OCAMS deployment as a “Temp Install” (allowing parallel operations with manual operations). Therefore, deployment is now separated from the ongoing seven-year equipment replacement (OCA ER) that threatened to delay operational use until early 2009. OCAMS will be reconfigured for running on a single machine, which will purchased, configured, and tested at Ames with OCA officers participating during the next month, then shipped to Lockheed-Martin. Anderson has requested deployment in the OCA Backroom of JSC Mission Control by early July.

Ames researchers also met with Max Haddock and other Mission  Operations Directorate (MOD) representatives to discuss two additional applications of MODAT (Mission Operations Design and Analysis Tool), the methodology including simulation and agent-based systems integration and automated workflow on which OCAMS is based. Cost-benefit and appropriateness of MODAT were discussed for On-Call Anomaly Response in flight controller operations and for Software Change Request Processing. MOD will prepare business cases for each application and work with Ames to develop the concepts further.

BACKGROUND: The International Space Station (ISS) OCA Officer is responsible for manually uplinking and downlinking all files to and from the ISS in the OCA backroom at JSC. These files include schedules, procedures, commands, e-mail, photographs, health data, newspapers, etc. Computer scientists in the Intelligent Systems Division of NASA Ames, within the Work Systems Design & Evaluation Group, have studied and simulated OCA work practices in collaboration with the OCA team to identify possible process improvements. Using statistics generated from the Brahms simulation model, the team designed and simulated an agent-based workflow system that automates the process of creating a ground-based replica of the ISS file system (the MirrorLAN). Simulation statistics predict a reduction in mirroring time from 6% to .6% of the OCA Officer’s shift. Using the Simulation-to-Implementation engineering method, Brahms agents were then converted into a run-time tool, called OCAMS. Using the Brahms Virtual Machine, these agents manage the workflow on multiple computers and servers using secure communications provided by the Brahms Collaborative Infrastructure. The tool also automatically writes large parts of the OCA Handover Log.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: OCAMS is funded as the OCA Mirroring System (OCAMS) ITA 9277 between JSC’s MOD and the Ames Intelligent Systems Division. The Collaborative Infrastructure has been funded by the Exploration Technology Development Program (A4O).

COLLABORATORS: Tony Bruins (JSC/), Chris Buckley (JSC), Tim Hall (JSC), Deborah Hood (JSC/USA), Brian Anderson (JSC), Chin Seah (Code TI, SAIC), Mike Scott (Code TI, Perot Systems), Ron van Hoof (Code TI, Perot Systems), and other OCA officers

Contact: Bill Clancey; Maarten Sierhuis


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