Open Source Mission Control for the Chrome Browser

Wednesday, October 29, 2014 - 17:30
TH 331
Jay Trimble & Victor Woeltjen (NASA - Ames Research & MORI Assoc.)

Space missions in their many forms, from robotic surrogates that extend our senses farther than they’ve ever been, to crewed missions that extend human presence into the solar system, all depend, to varying degrees, on ground-based mission control. Bounded by the speed of light, mission control interacts with people and spacecraft as a partner in enabling exploration. Pioneered by Chris Kraft and his team at the dawn of the space age, the core concepts of mission control are largely unchanged since we took those first steps on the Moon. New technology presents the possibility to evolve mission control, giving us new capabilities and flexibility in how we plan and execute missions.

WARP (Web Applications for Resource Prospector) a new open source toolset for mission visualization, brings mission control to the Chrome Web Browser. WARP design, driven by the Resource Prospector Lunar Mission and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s deep space missions, is a generalized model for space operations, providing distributed situational awareness for mission decisions from anywhere, on multiple devices. WARP integrates multiple data sources into a coherent visualization toolset from which users may assemble their own software, thus giving mission controllers more flexibility than the traditional paradigm of mission control disciplines and monolithic software applications. This frees us to operate based on mission needs, rather than constraints enforced by software application boundaries.


Jay Trimble is a member of the Intelligent Systems Division at NASA Ames Research Center. He is the mission operations and ground data system manager for the Resource Prospector Lunar Rover Mission. Prior to this Jay founded and led the User Centered Technology Group, bringing design thinking to space operations software, including open source mission control technologies, the MERBoard Touchscreen for Mars Rover Operations, and Planetary Data System user technologies.
At UC Berkeley Jay was the integration and test manager for the High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager. At the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Jay was lead operations director for Space Radar Lab, which flew two successful missions on the Space Shuttle Endeavour. He was a member of the science operations support team for the Voyager Spacecraft encounter with Neptune. At Johnson Space Center Jay was a space shuttle mission controller in the Payloads discipline.

Victor Woeltjen is a computer scientist employed by MORI Associates serving as lead developer for Open MCT Web. Victor began working at the NASA Ames Research Center as a student intern in 2011, and received his M.S. in Computer Science from San Francisco State University in 2014.