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NASA’s IT Innovations

NASA's IT InnovationsA lot of great work is being done in the world of information technology (IT) innovations at NASA. In this issue, we’ll explore a few of the IT trends and cutting-edge technologies at our NASA Centers. We’ll also take a closer look at who is helping to make this technology news.

The NASA Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) Communications Service Office (CSO) is responsible for end-to-end infrastructure in support of voice, video, and data communications services for the Agency. In order to deliver high-quality, high-value services to the NASA community, the CSO employs its Services Design and Development Lab (SDDL). The SDDL has three basic functions:

  1. Investigate trends, troubleshoot issues, and stage equipment prior to deployment.
  2. Develop new services and features.
  3. Transition emerging technologies into production-quality services.

The SDDL enterprise lab is located at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). This lab consists of 36 network equipment racks, a collaboration services lab (with end devices associated with integrated voice, video, and data services), and a meeting space for engineering, operations, and vendor collaboration.

The SDDL is extended to all NASA Centers via the CSO Prototyping Network (CPN), a virtual overlay across NASA’s internal wide-area network. This configuration allows Centers to perform joint testing and discovery without impacting any production environment. It was used recently to research, develop, and stage NASA’s Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) service, which has been used to meet the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) IPv6 FY12 mandate. The SDDL will also be used to develop strategies for meeting the OMB IPv6 FY14 mandate, which requires that all NASA end devices be able to reach Internet sites via IPv6.

Research and development of emerging technologies related to communications services are led by the CSO’s Communications Emerging Technologies (CET) lab at Ames Research Center (ARC). The CET lab participates in the CPN and is instrumental in identifying and vetting enabling technologies, which are then introduced into the production-oriented environment of the SDDL Enterprise lab before being delivered to the NASA user community.

Other projects are focused on the Information Technology Infrastructure Integration Program’s (I3P’s) goals of transforming the Agency’s IT services to a more efficient enterprise model (e.g., Consolidated Network Operations Center), better supporting the collaboration requirements of NASA’s missions (e.g., desktop mobile video), and securing the infrastructure (e.g., Agency perimeter firewalls).

To connect to the CPN environment, contact your Center’s NICS customer service representative (CSR) (https://cso.nasa.gov/CSRs_Page). Your lab need not be a CSO or even an OCIO lab—any IT lab is encouraged to join.