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IV&V JSTAR Projects

The JSTAR team works specifically to provide software-only simulation environments in order to create a platform for dynamic testing. This testing allows the user to analyze the reactions of a system to off-nominal conditions that could be encountered in the physical world. In turn, the simulations created by JSTAR allow issues to be found before they are encountered in the physical world—saving time, money, and resources while conserving safety.

More specifically, JSTAR’s services are currently aiding these ongoing projects: Space Launch Systems (SLS), Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (Orion MPCV).

Space Launch Systems (SLS)

Artist concept of the Space Launch System.
Artist concept of the Space Launch System

NASA’s Space Launch System, or SLS, is an advanced launch vehicle for a new era of exploration beyond Earth’s orbit into deep space. SLS, the world’s most powerful rocket, will launch astronauts in the agency’s Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (Orion MPCV) on missions to deep space and eventually to Mars, while opening new possibilities for other payloads including robotic scientific missions to places like Mars, Saturn and Jupiter.

JSTAR SLS Software Only Simulation (S3)
JSTAR SLS Software Only Simulation (S3)

To aid IV&V’s testing abilities, JSTAR has developed the SLS Software Only Simulation (S3) of the SLS core stage launch vehicle.  S3 is an integration of the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) ARTEMIS software simulation and the JSTAR developed hardware models of the SLS flight computers. ARTEMIS provides accurate software models of the sensors, actuators, and communications within the SLS launch vehicle. The JSTAR team added accurate hardware models of the flight computers, thus allowing flight software to run unchanged in a software-only environment.  This capability allows engineers to easily inject faults that would otherwise be impossible to create in a hardware environment.

A major component of S3 is the Message Extraction and Search Application (MESA), which parses the output logs of either an S3 or flight hardware execution of the SLS flight software. This data is put into a database for quick query and retrieval. Furthermore, MESA supplies a user interface to view the SLS data and search for data of interest.

JSTAR SLS Message Extraction and Search Application (MESA)
JSTAR SLS Message Extraction and Search Application (MESA)

Since its development, JSTAR has used S3 to expose defects in the flight computer Board Support Package (BSP) that would not have been found had this independent test not been applied to the flight software. Currently, S3 has been deployed at the IV&V facility and at MSFC, and is being maintained to support new flight software releases and fault scenarios.

Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage

JSTAR Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage
JSTAR Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage

The second stage of NASA’s SLS for initial unmanned flights is known as the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS). ICPS is planned to boost the Orion capsule into its orbital attitude, or pointing direction. Before manned flights begin, NASA plans to replace ICPS with a newly designed second stage booster.

JSTAR is developing a basic simulation of the ICPS with limited fidelity. The basic simulation will only be implementing the primary interfaces to complete a full integration of the HEO/ESD components.

This integration will be key for NASA’s ability to test how Orion and the SLS will respond to these interfaces prior to hardware integration. Currently, JSTAR has designed the ICPS simulation and software development has begun.

Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (Orion MPCV)

The Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (Orion MPCV) is intended to carry a crew of four astronauts to destinations at or beyond low Earth orbit (LEO), to be launched on the Space Launch System (SLS). This mission will facilitate human exploration of deep space and of Mars,  as well as to retrieve crew or supplies from the International Space Station if necessary.

MPCV Artistic Render

JSTAR’s role in this project is to develop an environment for software-only simulation to give IV&V the ability to test Orion, and to integrate its software with the SLS/ICPS software. The Orion spacecraft is emulated with a Lockheed Martin developed product called SOCRRATES (Software-Only CEV Risk Reduction Analysis and Test Engineering Simulator). JSTAR has integrated this simulation into their testing environment which has allowed IV&V to conduct analysis on Orion flight software.

Currently, JSTAR is working on using SOCRRATES to connect the data-bus that exists between SLS/ICPS and Orion to create a full emulation of the HEO/ESD mission. With this task, JSTAR will provide risk reduction to the interfaces between Orion and SLS/ICPS. As of now, the software design of this interface is complete and development has started. 

Past JSTAR Projects

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)
Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM)
Parker Solar Probe (PSP)
Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR)