NASA selects Vortex Suite for SMART National Airspace System

155080main_facet_hrVortex OpenSplice, Cloud and Fog data sharing platforms provide scalability, dynamic discovery, Qualities of Service and tooling capabilities required by system

Vortex OpenSplice, Vortex Cloud and Vortex Fog have been selected by NASA for use in the SMART-NAS (Shadow Mode Assessment Using Realistic Technologies for the National Airspace System) Project.

SMART-NAS is an air traffic management simulation project designed to accelerate the transformation of the National Airspace System, which is one of the most complex systems for controlling commercial, military and general aviation aircraft in the world.  In this effort, SMART-NAS aims to explore and enable plug-and-play alternative concepts, technologies and architectures for deployment in the NAS.

Over the past seven years, NASA has trusted PrismTech’s superior software, service and expertise to meet a variety of program goals.

Vortex platforms were selected by NASA for SMART-NAS after an in-depth evaluation of the various data sharing platform options that are based on the Object Management Group®’s (OMG®) Data-Distribution Service™ (DDS™) standard.  DDS is a proven technology that can meet the stringent performance, availability, safety and robustness criteria imposed by mission-critical, highly distributed and real time systems, such as those found in air traffic control and air traffic management systems. Key to Vortex, however, is its functionality to extend DDS beyond embedded and LAN-based networks out to an intelligent real-time data exchange for Tactical Clouds to enable highly scalable system of systems solutions.

To accelerate the transformation of the entire NAS, proposed functions must be integrated, tested and fully validated before being deployed into NAS.  SMART-NAS aims to examine, in real-time, the robustness, stability and reliability of new approaches to the entire system or any of its parts by taking operational data such as weather conditions, flight plans, airports arrival rates and system constraints – to ensure safe and seamless operations from ground level to outer space.

Vortex optimally addresses the real-time information distribution and management challenges posed by high performance real-time data-processing systems.  Vortex OpenSplice is being used in numerous air traffic control and management systems throughout the world.

Further information about Vortex platforms is available from PrismTech’s website at:

Vortex’s ‘out-of-this world’ performance enables mission to map the universe

PrismTech’s Vortex data connectivity platform powers LSST on its mission to survey the entire universe.

NASA’s discovery of an Earth-like planet 1,400 light-years away has been making headlines all around the world lately. The planet named Kepler-452b has characteristics that share Earth’s unique features that are essential to sustaining life- making it one of the biggest breakthroughs in today’s science of space exploration.

Thanks to the latest developments in modern telescopy; astronomers, researchers and scientists are now better positioned than ever to be able to search and find answers to the mysteries of the universe, including finding clues to the existence of life on other planets.

The next-generation of mega telescopes with huge mirrors and adaptive optics promise to advance the effort of exploring the world outside our planet Earth significantly.

The most exciting of these billion dollar telescope projects include:

The Thirty Meter Telescope (Hawaii) – This giant telescope will be the most advanced and capable ground-based optical, near-infrared observatory with a mirror size triple the diameter of any telescope in use today. This will enable scientists see farther and fainter objects clearer than ever before.

European Extremely Large Telescope (Chile) – Once completed, EELT will be the largest telescope on Earth with a mirror that stretches 39 meters across. It will generate images 13 times more light than today’s telescopes which will help find hints of exoplanets, dark energy and other mysteries within the universe.

Another one to join the world’s collection of giant telescopes is the Giant Magellan Telescope (Chile) which will house seven of today’s largest stiff monolith mirrors. Its unique design features will generate images that are 10 times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope.

James Webb Space Telescope – is the only space-based amongst the six mega telescope featured here. Surpassing the size of two other similar telescopes, this one triples the size of Hubble and Spitzer carrying a 6.5 meter mirror when fully unfolded. Its capacity will even produce longer wavelength and higher sensitivity compared to the Hubble.

Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope – Astrophysics Focused Telescope Assets (WFIRST-AFTA) – features a telescope with a 2.4-meter aperture and on-axis secondary mirror, which feeds two different instrument volumes containing the wide field and coronagraph instruments. It is expected to provide quality imaging of the skies over an area 100 times larger than Hubble.

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (Chile) – The LSST is the smallest in size amongst the six mega giant telescopes measuring 8.4 meter in diameter and weighs 6,000 pounds but it has extraordinary and advanced scope and speed. Using the world’s largest digital camera, taking 3.2 gigapixel images every 20 seconds to capture colourful, time-lapse videos of the sky – generating 30 terabytes of data each night, the LSST will create the first ever 3D map of the universe, showing more of the universe than humanity has seen looking through all of the previous telescopes combined.

“PrismTech is proud to be part of making history by helping create the first 3D map of the universe.”

Combining this enormous data-gathering machine is an equally-powerful data-sharing technology proudly provided by PrismTech. The award-winning data connectivity platform, Vortex was selected by the Association of Universities and Research in Astronomy (AURA) to support the demanding data management requirements of the LSST project. One of the major benefits of using Vortex is that LSST developed applications are not subjected to burden of data management tasks such as message interpretation and state management. To achieve amazing power the system needs, Vortex is key to providing reliable, scalable and time-critical data connectivity, enabling the data to be accessed by over 400 scientists and engineers worldwide in real-time.

Each of these new telescope facilities will be optimized for different areas of research to solve the deepest secrets of the universe such as understanding its evolution, solving the mysteries of the dark matter, finding other life and identifying other habitable planets.

With a surge in advancement in telescopy, the human race is moving closer to unlocking the mysteries of the universe. These are truly exciting times.

OpenSplice DDS in Coordinated Multirobot Missions for Lunar Sample Collection

PrismTech recently announced that NASA had selected OpenSplice DDS to help make Star Trek inspired Holodeck Technologies a reality. Following on from this I would like to highlight in my blog another space related project which is using OpenSplice DDS called IMPERA (integrated mission planning using heterogeneous robots).

The main goal of IMPERA is the development of a multirobot planning and execution architecture with a focus on a lunar sample collection scenario in an unknown environment. For future lunar and other planetary missions, autonomy is mandatory. Current NASA missions deal mainly with the exploration of the Mars surface and the analysis of the surface consistency. The systems Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity work as individual systems. Looking toward the future, it is a subsequent step to set up infrastructure and scientific components on Mars or on the moon. This infrastructure can consist of small stations measuring environmental conditions, units that are used to provide drill cores for subsurface analysis, or units for communication and energy supply.

Building infrastructure and interacting with infrastructure during a planetary mission calls for multirobot systems and coordination between multiple systems, each system having dedicated sensors and roles during a mission. If robots need to cooperate in a multirobot context, it is important to know how such a team of robots can exchange their knowledge about the world in terms of a world model, how to generate a mission plan, and how to execute a plan using robots with different abilities and configurations.

For the IMPERA project PrismTech’s OpenSplice DDS implementation of the Data Distribution Service for Real-Time Systems standard was chosen as the communcations middleware. OpenSplice DDS is ideally suited for the IMPERA project as it is based on the loosely coupled publish subscribe paradignm and provides extensive quality of service (QoS) options such as automatic reconnection and data buffering in the case of communication loss. The DDS communication middleware helps to ensure that each robot has the same knowledge about the internal status of each individual robot.

For further details about the IMPERA project, a Journal of Field Robotics paper titled “Towards Coordinated Multirobot Missions for Lunar Sample Collection in an Unknown Environment” authored by Markus Eich, Ronny Hartanto, Sebastian Kasperski, Sankaranarayanan Natarajan, and Johannes Wollenberg of DFKI, Robotics Innovation Center, Bremen, Germany is Now Available.

NASA selects PrismTech’s OpenSplice DDS to Help Make Holodeck Technologies a Reality

OpenSplice DDS provides high performance, real-time data sharing for leading edge simulation environments

Boston, MA, USA – January 23, 2014 – PrismTech™, a global leader in standards-based, performance-critical middleware, today announced that it is working with NASA with the aim of making Star Trek inspired holodeck technologies one step closer to becoming a reality.

Star Trek has provided an enormous complement of technologies that have amazed audiences for decades.  An important technology that served multiple purposes was the holodeck.  The holodeck was used as a data analysis environment (provided 3-D visualization of data/models/simulations), a communications device (created 3-D representation of the beings that were being communicated with), a training tool (provided crew members with simulated environments to train for missions), an engineering design tool (allowed crew members to create and manipulate 3-D models of objects piece by piece before they were fabricated), and as a recreation environment (simulated locations crew members could visit).

Although a holodeck developed using today’s technologies would not provide the same range and fidelity of capabilities as those provided by a Star Trek holodeck, the technologies available today would still allow the creation of a system that would still be tremendously beneficial.

NASA has started developing the concepts related to a holodeck system using today’s technologies and is investigating the benefits that it could provide to tele-presence, mission planning, and training activities.  Future improvements of this holodeck system using technologies that are currently being developed at research institutions (e.g. Claytronics) could one day provide the necessary technology augmentations to make Star Trek like holodecks a reality.

As part of the project, NASA required a middleware solution that allowed real-time, scalable and robust information exchange between different parts of the system.

OpenSplice DDS is the leading (commercial and Open Source) implementation of the Object Management Group™’s (OMG™) Data Distribution Service (DDS) for Real-Time Systems standard.  OpenSplice DDS has been designed to optimally address the real-time information distribution and management challenges posed by high performance real-time data-processing systems.

“OpenSplice was evaluated and selected for this Project because of its easy to use API, cross platform compatibility, high performance, and a rich suite of functionality,” said Frank Delgado, Engineer, NASA.

“This project has the potential of changing the way people interact with machines, visualize data and work together,” said Angelo Corsaro, CTO, PrismTech.  “This revolutionary and visionary Science Fiction inspired technology now has the prospect of becoming a reality. Knowing that OpenSplice DDS plays a key role in enabling this real-time data sharing is very exciting.”

Further information about OpenSplice DDS is available from PrismTech’s website at: