Josh Wallin | Iowa State University
Marshall Space Flight Center | May 30 – August 4, 2017
WHAT WERE THE GOALS OF THE PROJECT?
Test, evaluate, and integrate a data analysis tool into the workflow of ES51, the software systems engineering branch of MSFC.
Create a wrapper to automatically generate some of the input files necessary for performing data analysis.
Teach team members how to use this software tool.
Collaborate with the software development team to match new versions with test engineer needs.
DESCRIBE WHAT YOU DID DURING THE THE INTERNSHIP.
I worked closely with members of ES52, the software tools team, to develop a data analysis tool suite (TDxT) for reviewing post-run data generated while testing the flight software for the Space Launch System. Additionally, I laid the groundwork for an automated tool (using Python) to extract relevant information across several sources for improving efficiency in using TDxT. A report of these activities was generated and preserved for internal review, and to provide a baseline for comparison as new software versions arise. Finally, I led several sessions for ES51 team members to learn how to use the new tool, as well as collected comments for generating new versions.
WHAT WERE YOUR RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS?
My evaluation discussed the pros and cons of using this new software, with special emphasis placed on the room for growth. I also submitted several pieces of documentation to enable anyone following me to support the project. I discovered that the flight software requirements given for SLS were specific enough to enable capture in Metric Temporal Logic. I presented this idea to the requirements team, and am currently exploring a follow-up project with members of the test and requirements engineering team to begin integrating techniques from Formal Methods into their workflow. I believe that this could improve efficiency for safety-critical software, and enable test engineers to spend more time exploring the software.
WHAT LESSONS DID YOU LEARN THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS?
This experience served as a great practical example of requirements engineering, a topic that has been the subject of my research since freshman year. While much of my prior work has been in research, this opportunity focused on the practical engineering process. I plan to continue working with this team over the next year, with the goal of improving efficiency and safety. The work environment was also very welcoming, with team members always willing to help. While the beginning of my project went somewhat slowly, by the end I felt that I had made a significant contribution to the work of ES51.