“EXPRESS Payload Simulator” software developed by UTC professor Dr. Jim Henry is onboard the NASA Space Shuttle Atlantis that launched May 14. The software will be installed on Monday, May 24, for several days of demonstration. Henry was invited to Houston to observe the progress of that demonstration.
Earth-bound researchers who communicate with equipment in their laboratories use the Internet with web browsers and file sharing to remotely control lab equipment. For 15 years, Henry has been a leader in these activities, creating the first undergraduate engineering labs in the world to have remote operation capabilities.
Boeing Corporation, a NASA contractor, wants to make this same familiar interface available to researchers who are working with their research equipment on the International Space Station (ISS). When Boeing learned of Henry’s capabilities with his remote laboratories work at UTC, he was asked by Boeing to collaborate and do the same for the ISS.
“My part of the project was to develop a prototype LabVIEW program that will be contained on the laptop computer collecting data on the ISS,” Henry said. “I also developed a ground-based LabVIEW program that sends commands to and receives responses from the laptop on the ISS. LabVIEW is a software platform made by National INstruments Company especially for laboratory control and data acquisition.”
The EXPRESS Payload Simulator was tested on the ISS simulator in Hunstville, Alabama, in February and it worked perfectly.
Marie-Christine Labrie, a chemical engineering student, and Trevor Elliott, an IT Administrator II for the College, worked with Henry on this project.
Learn more about the Shuttle mission at NASA.gov.