A new software platform designed to ease the passage of payloads from earth to space was announced today at the AAS Space Station Research and Development Conference by NanoRacks, LLC, the leading company for space utilization. Payload Tracker™ is the first ever user-friendly tool that is specifically designed to allow customers, government officials, launch providers and others to track individual payloads through the myriad NASA safety and procedural requirements involved in launching customer project to the International Space Station.
“One of the complexities at NanoRacks as well as for everyone involved is tracking a payload once it enters the NASA system,” explained Michael Johnson, NanoRacks’ chief technology officer. “Payload Tracker™ was created to track step by step each of the NASA requirements, allowing all team members to immediately know the status of a given payload, where it is in the system, what modifications are required and the expected time to the next step.” NanoRacks is proud of the average of nine months to launch for their customers projects and see the Payload Tracker™ as allowing this pace to be maintained and even improved upon as the backlog grows larger and more diverse.
Payload Tracker was created by the Space Software Company specifically under license to NanoRacks. Explained Chief Developer Y K Addepally “we have enjoyed working closely with NanoRacks to understand the NASA requirements. The result is an extremely robust tool that will give peace of mind and accountability through any launch provider system, whether NASA, suborbital or any space mission.”
Now ready for beta testing, the Payload Tracker™ will be utilized by NanoRacks and also will be available under license for use by third parties. “The era of space utilization has arrived,” adds Johnson, “and a tool like Payload Tracker™ will make the process more efficient and customerfriendly. We are hopeful that everyone involved in payload integration will make use of their own custom-adapted Payload Tracker.”
Use of the Program allows all the team members to know, for example, when a stem cell payload has cleared the NASA safety review phase 2 with or without required modifications. The NanoRacks team member responsible for phase 3 safety will have all the necessary information immediately. No review meetings at every stage, no crossed messages. And the owner of the payload is kept automatically informed of the status at every step. Explained Addepally, “Payload Tracker brings all the stake holders of a customer’s payload together onto a single platform to manage information and exchange data for each and every step in the safety and integration process. And that’s good for the overall mission.”