Goddard Develops Integrated Platform to Improve Mission Performance

Goddard Develops Integrated Platform to Improve Mission Performance

3-minute read
Conceptual Drawing of Metamorphosis

The Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) Directorate at Goddard Space Flight Center developed an integrated platform, the Meta information system, which currently encompasses 22 operational applications for Goddard and NASA Headquarters’ Science Mission Directorate (SMD).

Meta, short for metamorphosis, is a state-of-the-market information system for process performance, data integration and analytics that operates in support of NASA mission performance and the Goddard Management System and Supply Chain Risk Management. The system aims for

  • Conformance of mission products and services with requirements
  • Product and process improvements throughout the enterprise
  • Data and risk-informed decision-making and performance management
  • Reduction of risks in mission performance

The project started with an interest from Cindy Mead, Goddard Management Systems Branch head, who was looking for a quicker, more efficient way of getting information from various systems. She turned to Tom Clifford, eventual engineering manager and system architect for Meta. Mead asked Clifford to do a study of current systems managed by the SMA Directorate

After reviewing the directorate’s systems, it was clear that the standalone systems and applications left the center with isolated data and processes, as well as extremely limited data analytics and reporting capabilities.

“Our systems were not integrated, [they were] information silos, and were not on par with industry best practices in terms of how information can and should be used in an organization to support analytics and decision-making,” explained Jonathan Root, project manager for Meta.

As a result, the team decided to move forward with developing an integrated platform. In less than two months, they selected a commercial software vendor to power the system (Intelex Technologies) and acquired an agencywide license for the software for possible future expansion and use by other centers.

“We went with commercial software because we didn’t want to reinvent the wheel,” said Root. “We understood that first and foremost it’s not about the information technology but process performance. We are bringing processes and data together in an unprecedented way.”

“We wanted to make sure it was COTS [Commercial Off-the-Shelf] so we didn’t end up with a homegrown system we couldn’t keep up,” added Mead.

The team then loaded data from the various systems. The integrated system includes the following applications

  • Meta Help Desk
  • Goddard Review Management
  • Goddard Integrated Risk Management
  • Integrated Assessments Calendar
  • Management System Assessments
  • Process Findings
  • Product Findings: Problem-Failure Reporting and Resolution
  • Product Findings: Spacecraft On-Orbit Anomaly Resolution
  • Product Inspection Tracking
  • Products and Services
  • Projects
  • SMA Configuration Management
  • SMA Watchlist
  • Supplier Insight
  • Supplier Assessments
  • Supplier Research and Analysis
  • Weekly SMA Project Team/Chief Safety and Mission Assurance Officer Reporting
  • Weekly Mission Operations Assurance Team Reporting
  • Headquarters/SMD Programmatic InformationHeadquarters/SMD Risk Reporting

By combining these applications into an integrated platform — and uniting business knowledge with technical knowledge — the team is providing improved data and information for decision makers, resulting in risk-informed decision-making. There is also a built-in capability for analytics to support process management, in-depth analysis and decision-making.

Because so many applications are feeding into the platform, the information available to users is cross discipline. Furthermore, the management of information within the system continues to grow as its increasing user base of over 2,050 personnel across Goddard and the agency enter data to perform process tasks that are then selectively integrated across the system to provide richer content and greater insight.

“Knowledge is king, and it’s hard to know everything about everything,” said Clifford. “You really only need to use the system for your subject matter expertise, and whether you realize it or not, you’re supporting other disciplines.”

Meta was selected as a finalist for the 2018 Environmental Health, Safety and Quality Alliance Award for Quality Excellence and the team received NASA’s Silver Achievement Medal in 2016 for “revolutionizing how Goddard Space Flight Center manages information, modernizing legacy systems and providing cross cutting data analysis capabilities for risk-informed decision-making.”

Questions about Meta can be directed to Root.