Message from the
GSFC 580 collaborating with JSC Morpheus Lander. The Morpheus project was started at
JSC in July 2010 as a skunk works effort to demonstrate a vehicle capable of
landing the humanoid Robonaut on the Moon within three years. Given the
challenging schedule, the Morpheus team contacted the GSFC Altair Lander team
and quickly decided to use the core Flight Executive (cFE) and Core
Flight Software (CFS) as the flight software and GSFC’s Integrated Test and Operations System (ITOS) as the operations center
the same core software as GSFC’s LRO, MMS and GPM missions, JSC quickly added
the GN&C functions and a suite of sensors and actuators. To speed
development and integration, JSC used the concept of “virtualized” sensor and
actuators that interfaced through the cFE Software Bus (SB) to switch between
hardware and simulated subsystems with ease.
With the Morpheus team able to build and demonstrate the Lander in under
a year, the Code 582 developed cFE/CFS flight software has garnered considerable
praise at JSC. JSC upper management has stated “how impressed we are at JSC with the Goddard Core Flight Software (CFS)”…
“the high quality code base (and
architecture) of CFS has been a major enabler”. The Morpheus vehicle was demonstrated to
Administrator Bolden along with the JSC center management on 03/23 this year
where the team again spoke of how the contribution and collaboration of GSFC
was a key enabler of their rapid vehicle development. An additional key factor in their success was the
GSFC Operating System Abstraction Layer (OSAL) and cFE concept of layered
abstractions. In just a few weeks, the JSC team was able to completely
integrate the cFE/CFS software into their standard “Trick” simulation
environment. This provided for high fidelity software testing and faster than
real time GN&C with full vehicle Monte-Carlo runs. With the successful high
fidelity simulation runs complete the team moved from simulation to flight
vehicle in just a few weeks.
part of the software effort, the team integrated the OSAL/cFE/CFS software,
simulation, and the ITOS ground software into a one VMware virtual machine.
This allowed them to provide developers and testers with virtual machines
including all the tools and environment configured and ready to go. New team
members simply downloaded the free VMware Player and started the virtual
machine on their desktop or laptops.
In May of
this year the Morpheus management team travel to Goddard to discuss further
collaborations and express their thanks in person, presenting the AETD Director
and 580 Division Chief with award plaques.
is expected that the JSC GSFC collaboration will continue in FY12 and beyond
with the Morpheus team winning one of the Advanced Exploration Systems (AES)
proposals. The multi-year proposal “Autonomous Precision Landing Flight test”
will fly the Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology (ALHAT) on the
Morpheus vehicle. Part of this effort will involve GSFC adding additional fault
tolerance features and evolving the cFE/CFS from Class B software to Class A.