The Challenge of Monitoring Space and Terrestrial Conditions
The U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, and the General Services Administration’s Federal Systems Integration and Management Center (FEDSIM), awarded Tactis and partner Peraton a five-year performance contract to provide SET4D personnel with an improved capability to analyze sensor data related to solar flares, solar winds, and other space environmental conditions that may affect high-altitude aircraft, and space- and ground-based systems. Tactis is charged with replacing the older SWAFS tool – where users had no choice but to wait hours to days to weeks to get critical time-sensitive data processed – with the state-of-the-art SDA Environment Toolkit for Defense, also known as SET4D. Team Tactis was also tasked with migrating the SET4D software applications to a secure cloud environment and deploying a data-as-a-service interface so that users would get more direct access to near-real-time data. Ultimately, through use of this data collection model, DoD and other government organizations can rely on an increased number of data sources available to better collate and correlate critical data to help keep America safe from inclement space weather.
Agile In Space
Adopting the agile methodology, Tactis set to work, starting from scratch. The first goal in the discovery phase was to simply understand the complex scientific principles behind everything. Next was to better understand what the operators needs and wants were and to identify mission requirements. This approach, not unlike website development, included creating user personas, user scenarios, user flows, wireframes, and UI mock-ups. Ultimately, Tactis’s goal was to arrive at user stories – an informal, general explanation of a software feature written from the perspective of the end user or customer – so that it could inform the requirements-authoring. The user personas, in turn, gave Tactis a better understanding of the operators who would interact with the SET4D software. An example persona was a Space Systems Operations Specialist, and the user scenarios, which were narrative-based, helped Tactis determine motivation, intention, action, goal/result.
Mission Control for Mission Commanders
In March of 2022, one year into a 5+ year programme, Tactis reached the MVP/Proof of Concept stage with its prototype demo. ESAA (Environmental Satellite Anomaly Attribution) was the first feature to be built/prototyped. In addition, a secure government cloud platform is being implemented, and a development pipeline has successfully been put into place. With the MVP, Tactis has entered into a new phase of the project, a shift to near real-time monitoring and dashboarding, setting off a series of use case discussions around new features (EMI). SET4D is now a step closer to its functional goal, that of combining data being pooled and representing it in an XYZ 3-D environment, ensuring a higher level of fidelity that goes with that data, thereby ensuring operators have a better understanding of what is occurring from what they are seeing in their data charts.
SET4D combines data being pooled and represents it in an XYZ 3-D environment to ensure a higher level of fidelity that goes with that data, thereby ensuring operators have a better understanding of impending space weather.