ESA title
GRAINS is the data analysis and visualisation tool of MUST
Enabling & Support

Mission Utility & Support Tools

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ESA / Enabling & Support / Operations

MUST is a system that provides high-performance access to telemetry, telecommand history, events and ancillary mission data. A suite of MUST client applications allows fast data analysis, exportation, enhanced visualisation, alarming through SMS and remote monitoring via Web.

Keywords: data access, monitoring, diagnosis, performance analysis


Access to spacecraft telemetry data and ancillary data, as well as their integration with other data and further processing can be cumbersome and difficult to achieve. Specific data formats, different data providers and access to networks, as well as the absence of relevant tools are obstacles for efficient data processing.

With MUST data analysis, performance assessment and anomaly investigation processes are more efficient; MUST facilitates collaborative discussions among (remotely distributed) teams; Reaction times to anomalies are shorter; MUST can also reduce the costs for on-call services for operations.


Optimised relational databases, distributed Client-Server architecture with middle-ware in various programming languages for data access and Web Clients.

Development Team

Developed within our group, Black Hat S.L., Spain, and Solenix GmbH, Switzerland.


MUST – the Mission Utility & Support Tools – is a framework and a collection of client tools that support the analysis, visualisation, exploration and exportation of telemetry and ancillary mission data.

MUST includes a server and a suite of client applications. The server takes care of the importation, processing and storage of all required data, in order to provide the clients with fast access to calibrated data. The MUST clients retrieve the data through standardised interfaces from the repository via TCP/IP.

GRAINS is the data analysis and visualisation tool of MUST
GRAINS is the data analysis and visualisation tool of MUST

Currently the following MUST clients are available:

  • GRAINS is a powerful data visualisation and performance analysis tool supporting the integration of telemetry with other data. It generates graphs of selected data and allows detailed analysis of the data through various functionalities and is available as Matlab and Java applications.
  • A website displays telemetry and other mission relevant information for remote access outside the control rooms (Alphanumeric Displays, Spacecraft Events, Telecommand History, Mission Control System Event Logs).
  • An alarms engine checks the incoming data and raises alarms via emails and SMS.
  • DrMUST supports anomaly investigation by finding which parameters are correlated with a certain event (e.g. anomaly). It also features time series pattern matching to identify overlooked past anomalies.
  • The virtual spacecraft application displays the status of the thermal subsystem superimposed on the 3D spacecraft model.

Other MUST Clients are currently under development:

  • Automated report generator
  • Automated telemetry post-processor
  • Generic Messaging System
  • Event Reporting and Alarming System

The client applications provide the users with simple and intuitive means for fast and efficient spacecraft performance analysis and anomaly investigation.

MUST can also help to reduce the efforts for on-call services. In case of an alarm, the engineer on-call can assess the status of the spacecraft using the MUST client applications from home, in order to decide, if an action in the control room is necessary.

Finally, MUST offers another, indirect, but generic advantage. The MUST repository together with the standardised interfaces (API) provide easy access to mission data. The APIs can be re-used for the development of new applications. Often the development of interfaces accounts for a considerable amount of time and effort in a software development project. MUST can reduce these efforts and therefore allow for a stronger concentration on the core functionalities of the new application.


  • J. A. Martínez-Heras, A. Baumgartner, A. Donati MUST: Mission Utility & Support Tools. In ISAIRAS, 2005
  • J. A. Martínez-Heras, A. Baumgartner, A. Donati MUST: Mission Utility & Support Tools. In DASIA, 2005

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