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Standardized Interface for Satellite Ground System Integration Technologies



TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Space Platforms

OBJECTIVE: Develop a system/capability to make satellite ground system development/ integration easier and reusable across satellite programs.

DESCRIPTION: This effort will develop and demonstrate design concepts for a standardized interface suite to improve satellite ground system development and integration capabilities. A requirement for this system capability is to simplify ground system development and integration as well as reducing the required time to perform the task. This improved capability should have the ability to facilitate one of a kind research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) satellites and ground system interfaces. Traditionally ground system development is expensive and time consuming for several reasons which include the failure to integrate the development efforts for Integration and Test (I&T) support and operations hardware and software, and the lack of common interfaces and standards. The ability to perform commanding and telemetry processing is a critical component of I&T and a workstation that can perform this functionality is developed accordingly. In almost all cases for DoD satellite systems the telemetry, tracking, and commanding (TT&C) workstation used in operations is developed separately and with minimal, if any, reuse from the workstation developed during I&T. Significant time and cost savings can be achieved by incorporating a test like you fly philosophy and developing a TT&C console that can be used for both I&T and for Operations.

AFSPC has had some success with standardized space trainer architectures. It is likely that this successful architecture could be leveraged for greater operational/applications/use. In addition to workstation reuse, savings can be achieved by developing standards for: command and telemetry database formats; naming conventions for commands and telemetry parameters; graphical user interfaces; and data transfer protocols. The objective of this topic is to investigate methods which can lower the cost and development time of satellite ground stations through incorporation of the test like you fly philosophy and by employing ground system standards which will enable optimal reuse of resources.

PHASE I: The objective of phase I is to develop a ground architecture that promotes ground system reuse between I&T and Operations, and from program to program. To demonstrate the validity of the proposed concept and architecture a limited demonstration is highly desirable. Emphasis on scalability and reusability is required.

PHASE II: The objective of phase II is to implement the system defined in phase I on a demonstration platform. The developed system should be capable of handling all TT&C functionality. As one outcome of the effort a detailed analysis of the results which quantifies the time and cost savings is also required.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: This proposed research and development effort has equal applicability to the commercial satellite domain. NASA GSFC and JPL have multiple spacecraft programs that could directly benefit from this research.


  • Goddard Mission Services Evolution Center (GMSEC) Home page,
  • Lockheed Martin Press release, “Multi-Mission Satellite Operations Center goes Live”,, Jan 2011.

KEYWORDS: Satellite Ground System Technologies, Ground Automation, Satellite Autonomy, Ground Segment Reuse, Satellite Ground Standards


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