Mission Operations

The Mission Operations (OPS)  subsystem is responsible for operating and commanding ELFIN once it has been launched and for the development of ground software. The entirety of Mission Operations is housed in the Mission Operations Center, or the MOC. ELFIN’s operations consists of Planning and Scheduling, Command and Control, and Data Processing.



Planning and Scheduling

There are two aspects to Planning and Scheduling: Maneuver Planning and Activity Planning. For Maneuver Planning, ELFIN’s Mission Operations team uses Three Line Elements (TLEs) from JSpOC and AGI’s orbit propagation software, Systems Tool Kit, to create the most accurate predictions of orbital properties, events, and communication passes. Operations will construct its actions around the information that Systems Tool Kit outputs. For Activity Planning, Operations relies on ELFIN’s home-brew software, the Planner. The Planner allows operators to plan spacecraft activities, commands, and events as well as constraint-check these activities against known spacecraft health limits. These Activity Plans are then translated into Command Load Files and are ready to be uplinked to the spacecraft.

Command and Control

Command and Control builds Command Load Files for transmission to the spacecraft. Flight Operators use another home-brew software, the Commander, to uplink these command loads to the spacecraft and to operate it in real-time. Command and Control also receives real-time telemetry from the spacecraft in order to monitor spacecraft well-being.

Science Processing

Science Processing is also a part of Mission Operations. Science and telemetry information is downlinked and the packets are put into a Level 0 file. This Level 0 file contains the raw packet information. The Science Processing system then timestamps the information and calibrates it, producing Level 1 and Level 2 files respectively. The Level 2 processed file is made available daily for public scientific use. The system also generates plots of the Level 2 file daily to make the data interpretable by humans.