Open Mission Control is open source open access software for monitoring and controlling small spacecraft. The software is designed to provide an application and framework that can be adapted quickly and easily to support a variety of spacecraft including CubeSats, myPocketQubs and NanoLab experiments, and sounding rocket and high altitude balloon experiments such as are carried by the REXUS/BEXUS program.
The Open Mission Control framework
The Open Mission Control framework consists of the application and graphical user interface which contain the basic structure of the program, and the Open Mission Control toolbox, which provides a number of ready to use functions typically required for mission control applicationa.
The Open Mission Control application and graphical user interface can be adapted to a project quickly and easily, by populating them with elements from the Open Mission Control toolbox and other standard library elements. This approach allows also users with limited programming experience to create sophisticated mission control software by building on a solid basic implementation.
Use and verification
Designed to work with any spacecraft project, the first flight mission that is expected to use Open Mission Control is myPocketQub 442. myPocketQub 442 was selected to fly as a pocket spacecraft attached to UKube-1, the first United Kingdom Space Agency CubeSat. It is expected to be the first mission controlled by Open Mission Control and to demonstrate and verify various use cases.
The first use case is for professional monitoring, command and control of a real spacecraft. This will demonstrate the ability of Open Mission Control to address all the requirements of such a task.
The second use case involves schools and universities – they will use Open Mission Control to upload their virtual payloads for their OpenSpace365 projects, monitor their experiments as they run and download the data for analysis. We also hope that a few of these groups will try modifying our software to support certain aspects of their payloads, which require a custom interface.
The third main use case involves the use of Open Mission Control as monitoring software for the various scientific and engineering sub-payloads that will fly on myPocketQub 442. The students conducting these experiments will use Open Mission Control to access and store the data from these payload experiments for analysis and research.
Another important use case is communication with engineering models of the real spacecraft which will be made available on the Internet. These engineering models are duplicates of the flight hardware and allow Open Mission Control to command and monitor them and their sub-payloads in real time and to simulate different critical mission phases under real conditions.
Development and distribution
Open Mission Control is currently under development with an initial complete release targeting Q4 2012. It is written in a mixture of LabView and C and source code and executables are available for download for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
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