An interactive Task Generation and Review System for advanced manned spacecraft applications



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Earth orbital space stations and bases are being defined as facilities which can support operational and experimental equipment on a long-term basis. This next generation of manned space vehicles will closely resemble earth-based scientific facilities and will introduce a new, more routine mode of operation than has characterized previous manned space programs. The space station must be self- contained and will provide for a wide variety of activities which will include requirements for system surveillance, checkout, process and experiment control, and data management. A prototype Data Management System is currently under development at the Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, Texas, utilizing an IBM 4 Pi-EP digital computer and specialized data acquisition, command, and display equipment. A specialized 'higher level' language referred to as the Data Management System Operational Language has been developed which allows a subsystem engineer or astronaut to prepare tasks for the Data Management System to perform. The syntax of this language is closely oriented toward the functions of spacecraft data management and system performance monitoring. A set of specialized machine language programs has been developed by the author as described in Chapter III and operates in conjunction with the DMS Operating System. These programs allow for the preparation of new DMS tasks while the DMS is performing its real time data processing functions. This set of programs is called the Task Generation and Review System and is an interactive system whose processing is directed by the operator from the Control and Display Unit. DMS Operational Language statements which are to be processed are obtained from either the Source Program Library in mass storage or from operator generated statements received from the keyboard. These two sources of input may also be inter-mixed. Communications destined for the operator consist mainly of tutorial information and diagnostic messages relating to errors detected in the construction of language statements. The Task Generation and Review System has been designed to translate the symbolic input operating as a single pass language processor. Since the language permits relative and symbolic referencing from one statement to another statement within the task without restriction on their relative occurrence, a technique has been developed to resolve these references without resorting to a multipass compilation process. This eliminates the requirement to maintain an 'intermediate' copy of the source program for use on a subsequent processing pass by the compiler. This effectively reduces the amount of system resources required by the compiler.