The satellite ground segment market current trend is the procurement of services instead of systems. As a result, a new Mission Planning function is needed offered as a service capable of providing a lower cost solution for the customer. This enables both the operations of the mission planning and its infrastructure to be external to the organization.
Objectives of the Product
The objective of this activity is to develop a new concept where the Mission Planning function is offered as a service.
MPSSERV is conceived to be a product born as an evolution of the GMV’s commercial Mission Planning System product called Flexplan. Flexplan is a consolidated and stable product which currently supports both operational and scientific missions including: Earth observation, Interplanetary, Exploration, Telecom and Navigation missions and can additionally support the management of ground operations.
Customers and their Needs
There are three distinct customer groups that could be interested in these kind of mission planning services:
Satellite operators: they can use it to procure complete ground segments to different providers, but there is a trend in the market to procure multi-mission COTS and services to minimize procurement and operational cost and risk.
Space Agencies: most of those have their own ground systems but they could be interested in subcontracting operations services.
“New Space” players: they intend to develop very low cost systems and to have low risk developments and/or procurements. They are looking for technologies and capabilities mature enough to guarantee their purposes without any investment, and of course, without any risk in terms of functionalities or operations.
Targeted customer/users countries
There are no restriction in terms of countries of the targeted users. However, European Union countries, GB, USA and Asia countries like Japan, India and South Korea are good candidates.
MPSSERV product is based on the evolution of Flexplan product due to the following reasons:
Flexplan is a consolidated product in the area of Mission Planning Systems
Flexplan is currently deployed for different operators. Different operator’s means different concept of operations and different concept of operations implies that the degree of flexibility of the product to cope with future users is reached. Consequently, the product is well proven.
Up to now, Flexplan has been used as a classic system that has been deployed in the proprietary infrastructure of the operator. For this kind of deployment, the current paradigm server-client with a client deployed in the user’s infrastructure has been considered acceptable.
Flexplan currently offers a strong set of functionality for the generation of operational plans that can be used “as is” to be offered as a service. This set functionality constitutes the business layer of the product that basically is not modified as part of this proposal.
Flexplan currently offers a good level of automation.
Three major evolutions of the system are necessary to offer the Flexplan functionalities as a service: the generalization of the existing services, the design and development of a new front-end graphic interface web based, and the full automation of the planning generation process.
The final objective is to simplify the interaction of the users with the product in terms of:
No special hardware requirements in the client size. A browser running in any operative system is enough to operate the system
Open API to access to the main functionalities that allows to develop a simple front-end to consume such services.
The figure below is a functional block diagram of the product as it currently is that identifies its main functional modules and external interfaces.
The main functional modules are described in the table below.
MPSSERV product offers the following features over the current Flexplan and other products similar:
New API on the server side in order to publish services that can be available potential users.
New front-end User Interface covering most of the Flexplan components that can be offered as a service. This new front-end must be web based (operated by using a web browser) as it is considered essential to offer Mission Planning functionality as a service.
The concept of offering the Mission Planning as service is depicted in the following figure. The service can go from placing an engineer in the operational environment at customer premises performing the operations up to assuming the full operations of the system by the contractor. Between these two concepts, it exists intermediate service concepts: from isolated MP functions, remote operation, monitoring, etc. There is no other supplier in the market capable to offer the MPS as services and this concept could fill a market niche.
The activity is currently in its initial stage and the Software Requirements are being defined.