Find out more about what we're up to with an email about Spaceline™ every now and then:

Ascending Node Technologies Expands Services to Provide Ground Data Systems for Spacecraft Missions

Ascending Node Technologies has licensed innovations developed at the University of Arizona to serve as the foundation for the next generation of mission ground data systems. When packaged with the company’s Spaceline mission planning tool, Ascending Node will provide a wide range of integrated spacecraft mission support services.

July 31, 2020

TUCSON, Ariz. – Spacecraft missions can now take advantage of the same pioneering technology currently enabling NASA’s first asteroid sample return mission. Ascending Node Technologies, a Tucson-based company that develops spaceflight operations software, has licensed the ground systems source code developed for NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission from the University of Arizona.

Ascending Node was formed in 2018 by scientists and engineers working at the university’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory on the OSIRIS-REx mission.

This mission ground data system is responsible for the ingestion, calibration, processing, storage, and retrieval of science and telemetry data for the trailblazing OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, which is currently preparing to grab NASA’s first sample of an asteroid. Ascending Node can now build on this flight-proven technology to develop the next generation of easily scalable and robust ground data systems to support future interplanetary exploration.  

The UArizona team of inventors includes Senior Data Processing Lead for OSIRIS-REx Sanford Selznick, and software engineers Michael Loveridge, Michael Fitzgibbin and Damian Hammond.

“An agile ground data system is a key element in building a mission capable of responding and adapting to the unknowns inherent in space exploration,” said Selznick, who is also Chief Software Architect for Ascending Node. “With Ascending Node’s infrastructure, mission teams can be confident in the seamless downlink and processing of deep space observations that are required to accomplish mission goals.”

Ascending Node’s team has decades of combined experience designing ground data systems for multi-instrument payloads – ranging from cameras to spectrometers to LIDAR – on spacecraft operating throughout the Solar System. These systems provide the architecture to configure and process observational data from the spacecraft back to Earth, and, once on the ground, further process it for collaborative use across mission teams. 

“Our company’s mission is to provide flight-proven products and services to support the further exploration of space,” said Carl Hergenrother, Chief Scientist for Ascending Node. “The University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab has been trusted to lead many innovative planetary science missions, and we are so pleased to have built such a close relationship with them.”

Ascending Node’s ground systems development service will work in conjunction with the company’s Spaceline spaceflight visualization tool to provide the full-spectrum of integrated mission support services for spacecraft missions.

Tech Launch Arizona, the office of the UArizona that commercializes inventions stemming from research, managed the licensing between UArizona and Ascending Node.

“This is a powerful software program to manage space operations centers and represents the best and brightest minds in the US space research,” said Lewis Humpheys, TLA Senior Licensing Manager who worked on the project. “It’s an excellent example of what makes the University of Arizona such a valuable contributor to space research moving forward.”

About Ascending Node Technologies

Ascending Node Technologies, LLC, is a Tucson-based company that develops technology to allow spacecraft mission designers and operators to work better together. Ascending Node’s founders have more than half a century’s combined experience planning, developing and operating interplanetary exploration missions. Learn more at www.ascendingnode.tech


Ascending Node Technologies, LLC
(520) 314-5595

Paul Tumarkin
Assistant Director, Marketing & Communications
Tech Launch Arizona
(520) 626-8770

Get in touch!