Ricardo helps NASA navigate big data

Ricardo helps NASA navigate big data
12 June 2019

Ricardo helps NASA navigate big data

Ricardo Defense is providing the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) with advanced software for the analysis and optimization of large and complex data sets – data which will be used in the planning of future deep space missions.

NASA has an enviable and well-deserved reputation for the planning and execution of the most challenging, safety-critical and complex of space missions. Fifty years since placing the first humans on the surface of the Moon and returning them safely to Earth, the agency continues to strive for new achievements: now, it is actively pursuing plans that envisage a return of astronauts to the lunar surface in 2024, with ambitions to extend human exploration to Mars and beyond in the years that follow.

The visualisation, analysis and manipulation of large and complex datasets used in operational planning is an expertise that Ricardo Defense has developed for use with its military customers. This is now being delivered to NASA in the form of advanced visual data analysis software that allows teams to quickly analyse extremely large datasets in order to isolate potential conflicts, risks, human or system errors, or excessive workload. This enables operating plans to be optimised, including providing for resilient contingencies. The software also enables the investigation of opportunities to eliminate non-value add activities, thereby minimising cost, complexity, and susceptibility. 

The powerful and highly sophisticated software provided to NASA was originally conceived and developed for the requirements of Ricardo Defense’s military customers. That was the initial focus, but the software has the power and flexibility to offer clear potential to support the planning of a wide range of mission-critical operations across many industrial sectors, from energy systems management, autonomous vehicle development, hazardous materials handling, disaster response planning, and transportation systems optimisation. For its application to future space exploration, this innovative Ricardo big data analysis technology has been delivered and is in pilot use by the NASA Human Factors engineering teams. 

“We are pleased to have been able to deliver this advanced software to NASA for use in the operational planning of future missions,” commented Chet Gryczan, president Ricardo Defense. “It is humbling to see that this Ricardo software is helping the organization that successfully executed the moonshots of fifty years ago to plan effectively for future missions – including a return to the lunar surface, and an even bolder onward programme of human deep space exploration.”