Volume 10, Numbers 3 & 4, December 1994
by John Garrett and Barry Schlesinger
We're happy to introduce the new NASA/Science Office of Standards and Technology (NOST) Librarian, Ann Lipscomb, who joined us full-time in mid October to support standards information requests and document dissemination. If you get a chance, stop by Goddard's Building 26, Room 115, to welcome Ann and investigate the services provided by the NOST Standards Library.

CCSDS Developments

The Consultative Committee for Space Data System (CCSDS) International Workshop just ended. CCSDS Panel 2 had a very successful meeting during the week of November 7-11. Its charter is to examine standard information interchange processes. An outgrowth of this work is the Standard Formatted Data Unit (SFDU) concept, also known as Standards For Data Understanding (SFDU). NOST has been a very active participant in CCSDS Panel 2 and contributed a number of papers aimed at extending the SFDU concept.

The Management Council of CCSDS has approved two new Panel 2 documents, SFDU—Control Authority Data Structures (CADS) Recommendation and a new version of SFDU—Control Authority Procedures Report, which now contain tutorial information on the content of the CADS report. The CADS Recommendation will standardize the structures used for registration and dissemination of data descriptions to ensure long-term understanding of data products. These documents should be available within a month. To obtain a copy, please contact the NOST Librarian at the address listed at the end of this article.

Another exciting development within CCSDS was the official announcement of the prototype CCSDS World Wide Web pages. If you don't need a hard copy of the documents, you can now access the text of all CCSDS recommendations and reports. NOST has been responsible for developing these high-level pages, which provide general information, organizational descriptions, charters, and document lists. NOST and many Goddard Missions Operations and Data Systems Directorate staff members produced online versions of all approved CCSDS recommendations and reports. These documents are all available in the following versions: ASCII text-only, PostScript, and either BinHexed Word for Mac or WordPerfect. Everyone involved did a great job in ensuring that all documents were ready by the CCSDS International Workshop. The CCSDS Web pages can be accessed at: or from the NASA home page by selecting the "Other Space Agencies" category and then selecting "CCSDS."

A lot of background work has been completed on expected future recommendations in areas such as data description languages, data element dictionaries, file naming conventions, and compound objects. To test these ideas and meet the real needs of projects, CCSDS Panel 2 plans to continue working with various groups, such as the Committee of Earth Observations Satellites (CEOS), International Solar Terrestrial Program (ISTP), and EOSDIS Core System (ECS). CCSDS Panel 2 personnel are ready to meet with staff from any projects to discuss how CCSDS recommendations can support their need for high-quality, cost-effective solutions to standards data interchange problems.

Draft Update to FITS Standard

A draft for revisions to the Definition of FITS NOST Standard is now available for review and comment. The revisions deal with the units for angular measure and celestial coordinates. This draft is being distributed by the new NOST Technical Panel discussed in the September 1994 newsletter (Volume 10, number 2).

The panel will review and respond to incoming comments either by revising the draft to incorporate the substance of the comment or explaining the reasons for not doing so. The deadline for comments was set for November 21; later comments may be considered if the panel has not acted. The panel's actions will be announced to the Usenet sci.astro.fits newsgroup and the associated fitsbits exploder, as well as to the wgas and heafits mailing lists. When the community review process is complete, the text finally adopted by the panel will be incorporated in the NOST Definition of FITS, producing version 1.1. Comments should be sent in writing to the NOST Librarian at the address listed below.

The draft text for units revisions is available by anonymous ftp from or by DECnet copy from NSSDCA::ANON_DIR:[FITS]UNITS_REVISION.TXT. It is in flat ASCII text form, with an approximate length of two printed pages. Printed copies and electronic copies for those without ftp access can be obtained from the NOST Librarian via Internet at or by DECnet at NSSDCA::NOST.

NASA/Science Office of Standards and Technology
National Science Data Systems Standards Office
Code 633 (Building 26, Room 115)
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Telephone: (301) 286-3575

Normal NOST library hours are 9 a. m. - 6 p. m., U.S. Eastern Standard Time, Monday - Friday

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Author:Miranda Beall
Curators: Erin Gardner and Miranda Beall
Responsible Official: Dr. Joseph H. King, Code 633
Last Revised: 21 Nov 1996 [EDG]