Geertjan's Blog

  • April 14, 2013

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

Geertjan Wielenga
Product Manager
Polaris Slipstream is an extensible data modeling application designed to
provide NASA Mission analysts a tool that not only visually models
their workflow but allows for a data sandbox. Analysts can use this
sandbox to explore variations on daily mission operations or offline
analysis using experimental algorithms and configurations.

software specializes in data products and formats that are typically
associated with NASA Missions. Slipstream is under development by
Aerospace Industry contractor ai Solutions
and is built off Polaris, which is their NetBeans Platform framework.

Polaris Slipstream Sequence And Execution:

Polaris Slipstream Les Miserable Fused With Napoleon Info JDK8 WebSockets:

Polaris Slipstream Dataflow Builder:

Polaris Slipstream Embedding JavaFX Charts:

What Does the Software Do?

Slipstream has
been designed to reuse existing NASA mission and Polaris plugins for
data production and visualization. The interface is a Node Graph
workflow that leverages the NetBeans Platform Visual Library for scene rendering and a
custom dependency and execution model. The goal is for
non-programmer analysts to model, explore, and share their data
analysis both visually and functionally. Palettes of data components
and processes are made available to the user with the intent to
separate different Mission components into their own sub-palettes.

Currently, experimental visualization is possible through a subset of
JavaFX charts and D3 JS data visualizations. This is being expanded
as new types of views become relevant to existing workflows and
future support will include more JavaFX chart components and

How Does the NetBeans Platform Help?

The NetBeans Platform makes this
all possible by providing the Visual Library within a rich
window docking framework. The NetBeans Platform Lookup makes
combined mission palettes possible. The same Lookup also makes drag
and drop from palette to scene, and eventually straight from custom
project data nodes, simple.

Integrated support for JavaFX interop
provides all the visualization capabilities, such as JavaFX line and
area charts. This is especially true in that custom plugins provide
early developer builds of JDK 8, which are used for embedded web
visualizations. Recent builds of JDK 8 also include enhanced
JavaFX WebKit support, which enable HTTP WebSockets, making remote
collaboration feasible directly within the scene.

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

Join the discussion

Comments ( 2 )
  • guest Monday, April 15, 2013

    Very cool Sean, this seems like a great solution for the case where your engineers are analytically minded, but don't want to fiddle around in software. Reminiscent of LabView or Simulink but much more useful when needing to tie in legacy software and custom modules.

  • Sean Phillips Monday, April 15, 2013

    Yes the comparison to LabView or Simulink is necessary. I feel that the difference is that LabView and Simulink were meant to be an encompassing workflow manager that automates complex tasks, while Slipstream is meant to explore a dataspace.

    So you are right in that an analytical mind could really take advantage of this. The real power is not just changing the data visualizations easily... or modeling a data flow visually, its the ability to use that same interface to then convey the insight of how the data tranforms to someone else.

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