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Maximo joins the space race

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THE National Aeronautical and Space Agency (NASA) has selected MRO Software’s Maximo Suite for use by its Canberra-based Deep Space Network (DSN) operation.

The Deep Space Network is an international network of antennas that supports interplanetary spacecraft missions and radio and radar astronomy observations for the exploration of the solar system and the universe.

The network also supports selected Earth-orbiting missions and spans the world to keep in constant touch with spacecraft no matter where they are in the solar system. The network is a facility of NASA, and is managed and operated for NASA by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

First set up in 1958, the Deep Space Network consists of three Deep Space Communication Complexes positioned approximately 120 degrees apart around the world to ensure uninterrupted transmissions between spacecraft and mission directors. Network control and central engineering and logistic support is provided by JPL at Pasadena near Los Angeles.

The Canberra complex is situated at Tidbinbilla and started operations 36 years ago. It is the only one in the Southern Hemisphere, the others being in Goldstone, California, about 200km north of Los Angeles, and in Robledo, Spain, about 60km from Madrid.

MRO Software's Maximo is currently undergoing implementation at all three sites. Maximo will be used to manage the maintenance and logistic support of all plant and equipment. At Tidbinbilla, this includes six antennas, the biggest of which is 70 metres across and has a replacement cost of more than $US100 million.

The first stage of this project was job scheduling. There are around 140 staff at Tidbinbilla including four shifts of 10 people constantly using the antennas to communicate with spacecraft, Tidbinbilla's other 100 staff range from engineers, through administration staff, technicians, trades people and landscape gardeners.

The next phase of Maximo implementation will see the integration of purchasing and management of stores items, of which there are some 200,000. Other functions to be integrated later will include time recording and costing.

The Maximo implementation is intended to allow operations at Tidbinbilla to run freely, allowing personnel at the complex to concentrate on core activities. At present, the Canberra, Madrid and California sites are linked operationally, and the Deep Space Network is working on linking Maximo usage across the three locations and with JPL engineering and logistic operations at JPL.

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