Information model for spacecraft telemetry and commanding data
XML Telemetric and Command Exchange™ (XTCE™) is an information model for spacecraft telemetry and commanding data. For a given mission there are a number of lifecycle phases that are supported by a variety of systems and organizations. Additionally, many of these organizations support multiple heterogeneous missions using a common ground segment infrastructure. Telemetry and command definitions must be exchanged among all of these phases, systems, and organizations. This is made difficult and costly because there is no standard method for exchanging this information. The lack of standardization currently requires custom ingestion of the telemetry and commanding information. This customization is inherently error-prone, resulting in the need to revalidate at each step in the lifecycle.
A typical example of this process is between the spacecraft manufacturer and spacecraft-operating agency. The spacecraft manufacturer defines the telemetry and command data in a format that is much different than the one used in the ground segment. This creates the need for database translation, increased testing, software customization, and increased probability of error. Standardization of the command and telemetry data definition format will streamline the process allowing dissimilar systems to communicate without the need for the development of mission specific database import/export tools. Ideally, a spacecraft operator should be able to transition from one ground system to another by simply moving an already existing command and telemetry database compliant with this command and telemetry database specification.
XTCE uses a carefully defined and annotated XML schema to allow the exchange of telemetry and command definitions. Using a common exchange format streamlines the process of transferring definitions from the satellite integrator to the operations team and between ground systems supporting the same satellite. This reduces the need to develop mission-specific database import/export tools and enables the creation of multi-mission command and
telemetry database tools for space link definition management. A satellite operator transitioning from one ground system to another can simply move an existing command control and telemetry database compliant with this specification to the new system.
XTCE has also been adopted as a recommendation by the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS).