Ardent Software’s O<SUB>2</SUB> Database Helps NASA Blast Off

Ardent Software’s O2 DB Helps NASA Blast Off

Early next year, NASA plans to launch a satellite for a 3-year research mission aimed at helping scientists better understand the conditions that immediately followed the "Big Bang."

The satellite, called the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE), will be operated through Satellite Command Language (SCL), a control language based on the O2 Object Database Management System (ODBMS) developed by Ardent Software Inc. (Westboro, Mass., www.ardentsoftware.com).

O2, which was first commercially available in 1991, is a standards-compliant object database designed to support complex, scalable database applications. It combines database features with an object data model. O2 is the foundation of the SCL developed by Interface & Control Systems Inc. (ICS, Melbourne, Fla., www.sclfl.com). ICS specializes in software for command and control applications and has been an Ardent customer for several years.

SCL stores a model of the spacecraft and its equipment. The application maintains a set of commands that the spacecraft can accept and execute. Using this application, operators from Johns Hopkins University and NASA can generate commands for both satellite navigation and the onboard telescope, and then analyze the results. The satellite autonomy allowed by O2 and SCL reduce the number of people needed at the ground control station.

According to Jim O’Leary, director of marketing for the object technology business unit at Ardent, one of ICS’ requirements for SCL was that users be able to access telemetry and other data via a Web interface. O2 provides a way to query the information using the Web. "O2 allows users to store data from objects stored as is with no decomposition with much higher productivity for the developer," O’Leary says.

ICS is using O2 on a Sun Solaris platform, but the technology is available on Windows NT as well.