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National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Goddard Space Flight Center

Goddard Mission Services Evolution Center (GMSEC)

Two Columns


The GMSEC architecture provides a scalable, extensible ground and flight system for future missions. The architecture enables quick and easy integration of functional components, which are selected to meet the unique needs of a particular mission. The architecture also enables the addition, deletion, and exchange of components to meet the changing requirements of missions as they progress through their lifecycles. The architecture provides a rapid, flexible, and cost-effective means to fulfill a variety of mission concepts, including concepts not yet fully developed.


To create a vision and architecture on which to base continued ground system and flight software development efforts at GSFC over the next 10 years. GMSEC will support the development of compatible mission support tools that can easily be integrated and made available (as tested) within the GMSEC Architecture. GMSEC provides this support by maintaining the Reference Architecture, defining Standard Messages, and supplying interface software. Other GMSEC project documents discuss guidelines and policies of assembling a system with the GSMEC Architecture. The Branches provide software development of functional components and tools. Missions select components that best fit their operational needs. By selecting the GMSEC architecture approach and using the GMSEC certified components where appropriate, the development organization can prepare a system at a lower cost that is compatible with other GSFC systems. In addition, as technology advances or operational requirements change, new components can be added and components can be swapped in and out of the system with low risk and minimal integration effort. .


gmsec reference architecture diag

Team Roles

  • GMSEC "owns" the Reference Architecture and the Standards
  • Branches are responsible for their domain areas
  • Current and future missions are GMSEC customers

  • GMSEC Reference Architecture

    The GMSEC Reference Architecture and its flight/ground system instantiation have characteristics that render it an attractive choice for GSFC missions.

    More flexible mission component selection
    Standard message formats for component information exchange
    Improved component reuse
    Quick & easy functional component integration
    Middleware support for GOTS/COTS software
    Scalable, extensible ground & flight system architecture
    Exchangeable & dynamic component activation on operating ground or flight system
    Increased system wide automation
    Additional capabilities added to ground/flight system without impacting existing system/design
    Mission and GSFC-wide configuration management
    Security, remote & shared access
    Shared operations with another site (University, commercial provider)
    Mission critical system risk improvement
    Collaboration across missions
    Greater choice & lower cost through standardized component communications
    Anticipation of movement of some functions on-board


    The Reference Architecture features include Plug-and-Play Components, Standard Messages, and the Software Information Bus. Plug-and-Play Components can be core functional applications/ subsystems such as Telemetry & Command, Planning & Scheduling, Assessment & Archive, Guidance Navigation & Control, and Simulation & Modeling or new stand-alone functions. To be GMSEC-compliant, the components publish/subscribe to Standard Messages with defined contents. Standard Messages are used as to request a service, to share data, or to provide status. A GMSEC Applications Programming Interface (API) shields the components from dependencies on communication protocols, operating systems, and hardware platforms thus facilitating platform transparency for the components. The API interfaces with the underlying middleware to route the messages over the Software Information Bus and also to pack/unpack the message contents.

    gmsec software bus and component interfaces

    The Software Information Bus provides the communications pipe used to carry information between GMSEC components. GMSEC can swap different middleware products in and out, providing additional flexibility. Legacy components interfac
    e to the Software Information Bus using an Adapter. The Adapter is custom software that translates Legacy Component messages and/or message protocols to those that are GMSEC-compliant. Additionally, legacy components may, in combination with GMSEC, continue to use legacy interconnections.

    Core GMSEC System Supports any Domain

    GMSEC Message Bus Architecture



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