We propose to expand Spaceline’s capability to perform concept of operations (ConOps) feasibility analysis. Coverage Analysis calculates to what extent a region has been observed by a set of instruments. Access Analysis determines the timespans when entities are within unobstructed line-of-sight to each other. The inputs to Coverage Analysis include orbit, target availability, instrument field of view, downlink, and solar charging opportunities. The proposed addition of Coverage Analysis includes ground coverage for planetary missions and celestial sphere coverage; the proposed Access Analysis will allow Spaceline users to ensure that their spacecraft will fulfill their downlink, communication, and solar charging requirements even with complex data relay setups. The proposed innovation of integrating this utility into Spaceline increases its accessibility to a wider variety of mission proposal teams.
Spaceline can fill a valuable role in providing mission teams a single stable platform to share and communicate all the details associated with designing, planning, and analyzing a mission. Interviews with members of the spaceflight sector pinpointed several issues that Spaceline will address: (1) Spaceline will enable the rapid development of mission concept of operations, (2) Spaceline will provide a robust and flexible schema allowing for the design and review of plans in multiple coordinate systems, and (3) Spaceline will greatly reduce the overhead to communicate complex mission plans among team members. The proposed innovations of Coverage and Access Analysis to Spaceline will provide increased utility across all three use cases. Early in the lifecycle of a mission, while the ConOps is still in development, users will execute the analysis tools to calculate a baseline efficacy of a mission plan to support their proposal efforts. This baseline can then be used as a reference point for comparison against more complicated plans.
Our proposed addition of coverage and access analysis in the Spaceline ecosystem will directly facilitate NASA in their goal of developing Mission Design Analysis tools to increase the accuracy of science modeling and enable design of future observing systems by predicting and optimizing their impacts on science data collection. By allowing users to experiment with observation designs earlier in the design cycle of a mission, teams have the opportunity to develop a more advanced ConOps, supporting mission success.
Spaceline would support commercial Earth orbiting constellations as well as Space Situational Awareness applications. Spaceline can test the efficacy of constellation-based sensors which monitor the activities of other spacecraft and provide a training tool for operations team members. The visualization portions of Spaceline will be easy to insert into third-party web sites or museum kiosks.