The LCROSS (Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite) mission operations team is using the Ames-developed Scheduling and Planning Interface for Exploration (SPIFE) to dramatically improve timeline situational awareness for flight. LCROSS mission success is tied to performing various operational tasks in coordination with Deep Space Network view periods, spacecraft critical events (trajectory correction maneuvers, science payload calibrations, etc.), onboard command sequence execution, mission operations staff shifts, and operational planning meetings. SPIFE graphically displays timelines and event markers representing all of these elements so that the team can better understand how they interrelate in time. As time progresses, the timelines sweep over a time bar representing the current time so that operators can easily see what events should be happening currently, have recently happened, or are about to happen. SPIFE also provides a running list, updated in real time, showing the time remaining to future events, and the time since the end of events in the past.
The LCROSS mission team displays SPIFE outputs in both its Mission Operations Control Room (MOCR), where real-time operations are conducted, and in its Mission Support Room (MSR), where mission planners construct command sequences, and where the team holds meetings to coordinate upcoming activities. SPIFE has been useful in both contexts. Based on its performance in pre-flight operational rehearsals, SPIFE has become the primary timekeeping tool for the LCROSS team.
BACKGROUND: LCROSS is a mission that seeks to detect water ice theorized to exist on the moon by impacting its spent launch vehicle upper stage into a permanently shadowed crater at the lunar south pole, and observing the resulting ejecta cloud for evidence of water. The mission is managed and will be operated from the NASA Ames Research Center. LCROSS will impact the moon in October 2009. SPIFE was developed at NASA Ames Research Center, and has been used for a variety of different mission planning and scheduling applications, including the recent Phoenix mission on Mars, as well as demonstrated in advanced technology demonstrations for mission planning and control of autonomous robots and spacecraft.
NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: Exploration Technology Development Program, Exploration Science Mission Directorate
TEAM MEMBERS: A. Aghveli, B. Kanefski, J. Barreiro, A. Bencomo, J. Bresina, A. Bachmann, M. McCurdy, M. Ludowise, P. Tompkins, J Marquez, E. Turkov
Contact: Mike McCurdy; Paul Tompkins