NASA Mission Operations on the NetBeans Platform (Part 1 of 4)

The Deep Space Flight Dynamics Support System (DSFDSS) is a proposed prototype for auxiliary ground system support on Lagrange point missions. Lagrange point missions and similar deep space missions have different mission planning profiles than standard Low Earth Orbit missions. While COTS and custom ground system software exist that can provide this planning, standard data services available at most NASA Mission Operations centers are seldom integrated with the data products produced by these tools. The DSFDSS will bridge this gap reducing downstream complexity for offline scientific analysis.

The initial prototype was developed in support of the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR). The DSCOVR mission (PDF) is scheduled for a SpaceX launch in 2014. Mission planning proceeds at the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA. The software will be deployed in the NOAA Satellite Operations Center located in Suitland, MD, USA and backed up in the Flight Dynamics Facility at GSFC NASAA. Development of the DSFDSS is led by Aerospace Industry contractor ai Solutions.

Orbit Compare:

Performance Box Plots:

Thruster Scatter Plot Matrices:

What Does the Software Do?

The DSFDSS has been designed to not only support the DSCOVR mission but all similar deep space/Lagrange missions in the future. The DSFDSS provides a platform for leveraging existing analysis scripts, data file comparison and conversion tools using an assortment of wizards. Plugins have been developed that provide 3D rendering of orbital ephemeris data using NASA’s GOTS product WorldWind. Complex visualizations of day-in-the-life data products are developed as custom projects and then committed to team repositories.

How Does the NetBeans Platform Help?

The NetBeans Platform allowed for a rapid prototype to be bootstrapped on an otherwise thin mission budget. The wizard framework makes daily operational procedures simple and greatly reduces risk of failure. The docking system makes drag and drop actions simple allowing for highly interactive analyst workflow. The simplicity of JavaFX interop facilitated adding non-traditional web-based visualizations seamlessly for an enhanced overall analysis and understanding.

All the info and text above was provided by Sean Phillips (@SeanMiPhillips), who is a Software Engineer and NASA contractor with aerospace experts ai Solutions.


Great. Amazing for NetBeans.
Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Mircea on April 11, 2013 at 07:08 AM PDT #

Thanks for the comment and Thanks Geertjan for publishing our tool. I'm the lead developer for the DSCOVR tool. We use the JavaFX webkit support to render the embedded D3.JS based visualizations. I was inspired by some of your blog entries from last year with Java/JavaFX interacting with Javascript.

Posted by Sean Phillips on April 11, 2013 at 05:54 PM PDT #

The DSFDSS project is great; it is very extensible and as someone who has seen it firsthand I can attest to its ease of use and its usability. The developers at ai Solutions have done a great job and I'm glad they've gotten some recognition for their hard work.

Posted by guest on April 11, 2013 at 07:04 PM PDT #

Looks very versatile- I'd be interested to know what is powering the Earth-view and orbit track renderings?

Posted by Gustav on April 12, 2013 at 07:54 AM PDT #

Hi Gustav. The 3D rendering is WorldWind. We've made a few custom plugins that provide the WorldWind view as a Panel that can be dropped into a NetBeans Platform TopComponent.
We've then created a TopComponent that encapsulates a JDesktop component and a tertiary drag and drop handler for Ephemeris type data. Analysts can Drag and drop ephemeris data and files into your different WorldWind windows for quick visuals.

This tool doesn't typically generate the ephemeris data, that is reserved for other components within the Ground System. (With this mission, STK, but other missions it might be FreeFlyer, GMAT, GEONS, etc)

Posted by Sean Phillips on April 12, 2013 at 09:17 AM PDT #

Very nice work Sean. Very cool stuff.

Posted by Dave Staelens on April 12, 2013 at 04:57 PM PDT #

Great work on this plugin Sean, I'm really excited to see some of the possibilities of WorldWind and NetBeans together.

Posted by Larry on April 13, 2013 at 10:12 AM PDT #


Fast forward through the next few days of GJ's Blog. He's posting a group of our applications and we reuse the WorldWind plugin in another tool as well.

Posted by Sean Phillips on April 13, 2013 at 07:11 PM PDT #

Great news. I'm always excited to see new uses for NetBeans, although I've only used the NetBeans IDE myself.

Posted by Daglees on April 14, 2013 at 03:23 AM PDT #

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Geertjan Wielenga (@geertjanw) is a Principal Product Manager in the Oracle Developer Tools group living & working in Amsterdam. He is a Java technology enthusiast, evangelist, trainer, speaker, and writer. He blogs here daily.

The focus of this blog is mostly on NetBeans (a development tool primarily for Java programmers), with an occasional reference to NetBeans, and sometimes diverging to topics relating to NetBeans. And then there are days when NetBeans is mentioned, just for a change.


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