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Center Independent Research & Development: GSFC IRAD

Visualization in Real-Time Experiment (VIRTEx)

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Visualization in Real-Time Experiment

With the increase in quantity and complexity of launches at the Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) there is an ever-growing need for a more capable real-time visualization system for the WFF Range Control Center (RCC).  This system should have the ability to depict the vehicle using actual CAD vehicle models, display vehicle attitude and stage separation events, and utilize robust network protocol suitable for real-time safety applications.  This project will use existing WFF hardware systems and leverage past experiences and lessons learned to produce a Visualization in Real-Time Experiment (VIRTEx) application that will use a cutting edge message protocol for lab demonstration and use during real-time operations.

The objective of this project will be to migrate some of the outputs from the WFF Mission Planning Lab (MPL) into a real-time visualization system.  The MPL is responsible for generating pre-flight RF margin link analysis, mission simulation & visualization, and other products for WFF missions.  This real-time visualization system would depict in 3D graphics the position and orientation of the launch vehicle(s) or suborbital carrier (UAV, sounding rocket), VIRTEx would be expanded to use a more flexible publish/subscribe architecture, and the system will leverage recently developed advanced telemetry and data handling systems within the Range network.

Another main objective will be updating VIRTEx to support a sounding rocket mission which is scheduled to launch from NASA Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) in the summer of 2014.

This project will also be used to demonstrate the successful attitude data conversion from a WFF telemetry system.  Updates are being finished on this telemetry system that convert various NASA Sounding Rocket attitude control systems (ACS) data formats.  Multiple ACS systems output different data formats, so libraries and algorithms were added to the telemetry system to convert this data into a standard yaw, pitch, and roll dataset for Range Safety.  VIRTEx will be able to easily show this data and will be able to compare it to the pre-flight attitude predictions.

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Technology Maturity (TRL)

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