NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 B5.01-7782
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Telescience and Flight Payload Operations
PROPOSAL TITLE: Constellation C3I Crew-Ground-Experimenter-Developer Collaboration Services

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
AZ Technology Inc
7047 Old Madison Pike, Suite 300
Huntsville, AL 35804-2188

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
James Chamberlain
7047 Old Madison Pike, Suite 300
Huntsville, AL 35806-2188

The Command, Control, Communications and Information (C3I) environment will be significantly different for Constellation than for Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS). Missions will operate not only in Near Earth round-trip latencies (RTLT) of seconds but also Near Mars RTLT of 10 to 40 minutes. New classes of collaboration services are required to support the spectrum of Constellation missions and infrastructure. Integrating popular collaboration tools such as Groove Virtual Office on Constellation C3I space-based components and networks will be a major innovation. This project proposes experimental use in SBIR Phases II/III of ISS flight and ground capabilities to demonstrate new collaboration services for use in the Constellation program. These new space-based and terrestrial services will greatly improve communications among all Constellation personnel over current techniques. The approach includes: 1) Integrate instant messaging, e-mail, transcription, etc. with voice and video communications; 2) Design for automation and autonomy of space-based Constellation components; 3) Evolve development collaboration services into mission collaboration services over time; 4) Promote new collaboration standards, interoperability, standardized interfaces, and modularity; 5) Adapt the collaboration architecture to the ground and space networks and frameworks. Client-server, peer-to-peer, or a hybrid architecture may be most suitable.

Phase II will develop prototype collaboration services to be proposed for trial use by International Space Station (ISS) ground facilities - Payload Operations and Integration Center (POIC) and Mission Control Center (MCC) - for use in mission operations and support, including remotely-located experimenters. Phase II will also evaluate the possibility of flying a new collaboration tool on an ISS crew laptop for use in crew-ground-experimenter communications. Phase III will market these new collaboration services to NASA for standard ISS mission operations as well as for Constellation program development and support collaboration, which by 2008 should be maturing.

Collaboration system popularity is booming (e.g., WebEx annual revenues rose from $0M to $200M in 5 years). COTS will be ideal for day-to-day business use; however, many organizations want to control and customize their own systems rather than relying on commercial services. There is great sales potential for systems that are integrated with and customized for large projects. Customers: corporate, military C3I, healthcare training, and grids used by distributed teams of research scientists. Specific products: add-on software tools for Apache JetSpeed and Groove Virtual Office developed for ISS/Constellation and adapted for business use. Services: software reseller-integrator for Groove, WebEx.