NASA Awards Ascending Node Technologies Second SBIR Phase I Grant for Expansion of Spaceline's Capabilities

Spaceline's mission planning capability is expanding to support visualizations of 3D phenomena, allowing space mission designers to create accessible, interactive visualizations of flight telemetry that is easily sharable across mission teams.

TUCSON, Ariz. - Ascending Node Technologies, LLC., a Tucson-based company that develops innovative software to support spaceflight operations, announced that it has been awarded a second Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract from NASA. This Phase I contract will be used to expand the company's Spaceline planning tool to support multiple model types in the product's spaceflight visualizations. Spaceline is a web-based tool that provides user-friendly, telemetry-based visualizations of spacecraft data for mission planning.

A persistent mission design challenge is the difficulty of conveying complex scientific data in a manageable, sharable format. Spaceline proposes to solve this by creating interactive 3D visual representations of planned spacecraft operations. The web-based product provides rapid visualization of telemetry data derived from NAIF SPICE kernels and hypothetical scientific models for easy comparison, review, and feedback. This new product expansion will allow mission designers to incorporate three-dimensional science data - factors such as gravity fields, magnetic fields and even plume emission events - into their spaceflight planning methods.

"This expansion of Spaceline's capabilities makes it possible for mission science team members to incorporate hypothetical models into observation planning," said Carl Hergenrother, Chief Scientist of Ascending Node Technologies. "Spaceline now provides mission designers with a tool to plan spacecraft observations of the unknown, which is especially valuable for missions to previously unexplored bodies. This means that Spaceline can incorporate multiple gravitational models into an observation plan before the gravity field of the planetary object is known, allowing planners to prepare for any contingency."

This is Ascending Node's third SBIR award, having previously received earlier Phase I and II contracts for the development of Spaceline. These highly competitive awards are designed to advance NASA's capabilities by supporting innovation from small businesses. Ascending Node was selected in this round for successfully demonstrating the technical feasibility of including three-dimensional data types into Spaceline's models. With this new award, Ascending Node will continue developing Spaceline to further establish its scientific, technical, and commercial merit for use in future interplanetary exploration missions.

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. Spaceline is the company’s new web-based application that creates telemetry-based, interactive 3D visualizations of spacecraft operations right in your browser, which can then be shared across the mission team for easy collaboration and feedback. Ascending Node’s founders have more than half a century’s combined experience planning, developing and operating interplanetary exploration missions. In 2019 NASA ignited the development of Spaceline and has since awarded Ascending Node Technologies multiple SBIR contracts. Learn more at www.ascendingnode.tech.

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