KEYWORDS: James Webb Space Telescope, Databases, Commercial off the shelf technology, Software development, Space operations, Space telescopes, Interfaces, Control systems, System integration, Chemical elements
Ideas, requirements, and concepts developed during the very early phases of the mission design often conflict with the reality of a situation once the prime contractors are awarded. This happened for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) as well. The high level requirement of a common real-time ground system for both the Integration and Test (I&T), as well as the Operation phase of the mission is meant to reduce the cost and time needed later in the mission development for recertification of databases, command and control systems, scripts, display pages, etc. In the case of JWST, the early Phase A flight software development needed a real-time ground system and database prior to the spacecraft prime contractor being selected. To compound the situation, the very low level requirements for the real-time ground system were not well defined. These two situations caused the initial real-time ground system to be switched out for a system that was previously used by the flight software development team. To meet the high-level requirement, a third ground system was selected based on the prime spacecraft contractor needs and JWST Project decisions. The JWST ground system team has responded to each of these changes successfully. The lessons learned from each transition have not only made each transition smoother, but have also resolved issues earlier in the mission development than what would normally occur.