Press Release

NASA’s Kepler Mission Wins 2010 Software of Year Award by NASA Software Advisory Panel

By SpaceRef Editor
October 4, 2010
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NASA’s Kepler Mission Wins 2010 Software of Year Award by NASA Software Advisory Panel

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. — NASA’s Kepler mission Science Operations Center software system was named winner of the 2010 NASA Software of the Year Award by the NASA Software Advisory Panel.

Designed, developed and operated by the Kepler Science Operations Center (SOC) at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., the SOC software system is used to find Earth-size planets using photometric data acquired from the Kepler spacecraft.

The SOC software system is a suite of 22 custom-designed tools for processing, analyzing, and storing transit photometry and engineering data for the Kepler Mission. The Kepler mission is the first NASA mission capable of finding Earth-size planets in the “habitable zone,” the region in a planetary system where liquid water can exist on the surface of the orbiting planet.

Kepler is a space observatory that looks for the data signatures of planets by measuring tiny decreases in stars brightness when planets cross in front of, or transit them. The size of the planet can be derived from the change in the star’s brightness.

On June 15, the Kepler mission released data that could double the amount of known planets outside of the solar system. Of the 165,000 stars that the Kepler mission has been monitoring for planetary transits, approximately 750 of them reveal planetary candidates. All of these discoveries were made possible by the SOC software system and the team that developed and manages it.

“Their outstanding work has made a significant and lasting contribution to Ames’ technology development portfolio and to NASA’s leadership in astronomical research, said Ames Director S. Pete Worden. I am absolutely delighted that the NASA Kepler Science Operations Center has been honored with this prestigious award. As a center, we have enjoyed great success in previous NASA Software of the Year competitions, and this award adds to our proud legacy.”

Ames has won or been a co-winner of the NASA Software of the Year award nine times since it was initiated in 1994. For this year’s award, there were two runner ups LEWis ICE accretion program (LEWICE), Version 3.2.2 from NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland and International Polar Orbiter Processing Package (IPOPP) from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

A formal ceremony to present the 2010 Software of the Year award will be held Feb. 9-10, 2011 at the NASA Project Management Challenge Conference in Long Beach, Calif.

The Office of Safety and Mission Assurance and the Chief Information Officer sponsor the NASA Software of the Year Competition to identify innovative software technologies that significantly improve the agency’s exploration of space and maximize scientific discovery on Earth. A NASA Software Advisory Panel assesses and ranks entries and reports its findings to NASA’s Inventions and Contributions Board.

Ames is responsible for the Kepler mission’s ground system development, mission operations and science data analysis. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., managed the Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo., developed the Kepler flight system, and supports mission operations with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore archives, hosts and distributes the Kepler science data.

For more information about Kepler, visit:

For more information about Ames, visit:

For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.