Me and the boss man went through to Stellenbosch today to have meeting with two engineers from SunSpace for a little demonstration of the Mission Control Software (MCS) that SunSpace created for the operation of Sumbandila.
The software is quite comprehensive with a facebook style timeline (just made the facebook connection now as I was writing this 🙂 ) for the spacecraft operations. Thumbnail images for each captured image is shown. The timeline also shows info on each executed task, with information shown indicating if the task ran on time and completed successfully.
There are lost of graphs showing parameters like received signal strength, azimuth and elevation of ground station antennas (both the reference and actual values). The software is also able to manage resources over multiple locations, which basically means that you can manage multiple ground stations from a central point. It is also possible to select between multiple pieces of equipment at a location. This enables mission operations to be done from one location using infrastructure at either ESL at University of Stellenbosch or SAC at Hartbeeshoek.
Tasking of the spacecraft is also done through the MCS software. There is a workflow based interface to the tracking and ground operations making everyday activities quite straight forward.
Now for those still with us, the point of this little post is that there are whispers that a lite version of the software might be in the works for smaller missions like CubeSat missions. Where your ground station or mission control software might be another piece that your are able to buy of the shelf.