SSDOO Addresses Year 2000 Compliance

Volume 14, Number 2, June 1998
by Nancy Laubenthal

NSSDC and its host organization at Goddard Space Flight Center, the Space Science Data Operations Office (SSDOO), share a potential problem with innumerable other NASA, U.S. government and, other U.S. and worldwide organizations, namely the correct operation of their computers and resident application software as the year 1999 is overtaken by the year 2000. This is the widely apprehensively anticipated Y2K problem.

To address the Y2K problem, SSDOO has followed the NASA Year 2000 Compliance Problem five-phase model: Awareness, Assessment, Renovation, Validation, and Certification. SSDOO's goal is to certify mission critical software and systems by September 30, 1998, and all other software and systems by March 31, 1999.

Within NSSDC the subset of applications software that most immediately affects NSSDC's core activities of managing its permanent space science archives (tracking data volumes, etc.) and providing network access to currently important data (NDADS) have been declared mission critical. Many other software modules, recognized by NSSDC management as providing customer-important services, have been declared non-mission critical. These will also be made Y2K-compliant on a high priority but through a more relaxed schedule.

SSDOO has comprehensive inventories (in Excel spreadsheets) of custom application software, Commercial-off-the-Shelf (COTS) software, and hardware used by the groups constituting SSDOO, including NSSDC. SSDOO is using the spreadsheets to track the Year 2000 Compliance progress as software and systems are renovated, validated, and certified. The software inventories list about 150 custom applications of which 45 are mission critical and about 450 COTS packages for the various operating systems supported here of which about 75 are mission critical. SSDOO has Year 2000 Compliance test plans from each major SSDOO group as well. These test plans define the custom applications, the host and COTS dependencies, the Year 2000 renovation plans, basic software testing to be done, the system level tests required, readiness for system-clock testing (moving system clocks forward to 12/31/99 and letting them run across the boundary to 1/1/00), and schedules.

SSDOO's plan is to have most of the systems level software, that is, operating systems and COTS/freeware/shareware, compliant by July 1, 1998. This plan will allow for the applications and systems level tests from July 1998 through September 1998 for mission critical systems.

As a service to the Space Science Directorate, the SSDOO has generated Web pages of the Year 2000 Compliance software of COTS software used by the Space Sciences Directorate. The Web pages can be found at http://ssdoo.gsfc.nasa.gov/~nancy/y2k/. Richard Chu of the NSSDC investigates the compliance of the COTS packages by visiting vendor Web pages and other government Year 2000 Web sites. He determines whether the software is vendor-claimed to be Year 2000 compliant and in the Web pages documents the software compliance status and provides links to specific vendor references.

The NSSDC holds terabytes of space science data with dates in various formats. Many of these data are time-tagged with four digit years, although some data have two digit year tags. SSDOO recognizes this may be an issue, if not immediately then when the space program reaches its one hundredth year anniversary in another 60 years. However, SSDOO's Year 2000 Compliance efforts have been primarily focused on the software and systems to date.

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