Space software comes to the Web

NASA has celebrated its 43rd birthday by releasing numerous potential software solutions to a wide range of engineering and analysis problems in the disciplines of medicine, chemistry, and aerodynamics.

Better yet, the not-for-profit arm of Chicago-based Open Channel Software (OCS) – the Open Channel Foundation (OCF) – together with the US National Technology Transfer Center, are publishing a series of these applications on the Web. Called the NASA classics collection, they may be accessed at the company’s Website at www.openchannelsoftware.com.

Specifically, OCS has entered into an agreement with the Robert C. Byrd National Technology Transfer Center (NTTC) at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia, whereby it will market individual pieces of the Space Agency software collection.

Some will be available as free, downloadable, open-source product, and others will sell at prices ranging from $20.00 to $8,000.00, according to Douglas Curry, vice president of business development at Open Channel Software.

‘NTTC is the ‘distributor’ of more than 500 software programs created by NASA developers,’ said Joseph Allen, president of NTTC. ‘OCS now has access to these programs, as well as those from other Federal agencies. As we work with NASA and its field centres, OCS will enable us to help NASA promote open source software for the public benefit,’ Allen stated.

Originally published as part of the COSMIC collection – 500+ programs across the widest imaginable range of disciplines – the NASA classic software essentially is the ‘retail’ end of that collection. OCS will be marketing more than 200 titles in all, initially by making them available on its web site. These applications began in 1966 as part of a program to establish a central repository for all NASA software developed by research centres, subcontractors and universities working on NASA-funded projects.

A large portion of the NASA classics software programs is based upon the FORTRAN computing language, either in toto or in the form of modular structures that can be linked with C and C++ language modules.