June 2 - NASA is using the TopQuadrant semantic application platform to model, organize, integrate and exchange data to meet the ambitious planetary exploration goals of the NASA Constellation Program. NASA's use of TopBraid Suite 3.0 represents a significant commitment to developing and applying a semantic data architecture in the full 'engineering-through-operations' lifecycle to reach affordability, sustainability and evolveability mandates. 
Simply stated, semantic technologies include software standards and methodologies to provide more explicit meanings for information. These technologies and best practices extend the proven technology of relational databases, service-oriented architectures and Web delivery systems.
NASA’s objectives require the flexibility, ease of data integration and organic application capabilities unique to semantic technologies, which enable rapid changes in large, complex and distributed data systems. 
According to a program overview given by John F. Connolly of the Constellation Program Office, the goals of the project are to gain significant experience in Operating away from Earth’s environment, develop technologies needed for opening the space frontier and conduct fundamental science. The Constellation Program is developing new spacecraft - including the Ares I and Ares V launch vehicles, the Orion crew capsule, and the Altair lunar lander - to carry humans and equipment to the International Space Station, the moon and beyond. The agency says the first Ares I-X flight test is scheduled for late August 2009. 
The Constellation Program is leveraging semantic technology as a means of integrating and managing information generated and shared by diverse groups across the program, including engineers, technicians, operators and managers. NASA uses TopBraid to develop and manage NExIOM the NASA Exploration Initiatives Ontology Models, which formalizes the way machines and people specify NASA Exploration systems, elements of their Scientific and Engineering disciplines, related work activities and their interrelationships in the enterprise. Through the use of model-based knowledge representations and controlled vocabularies, information is intelligible and actionable to machines, applications, and people. Information can be found, associated, aggregated, and reasoned over to generate products and inform decisions within and across diverse organizational groups and application domains. 
Business and government organizations have been pioneering semantics in knowledge-based applications. Increasingly, they are combining semantic Web technologies to create more powerful applications for data integration, service-oriented architecture and collaboration.
(The 2009 Semantic Technology conference will be held June 14-16, 2009, in San Jose, California. The conference will feature keynotes from notable companies as well as semantic applications and use cases by product developers and technical experts with semantic solutions in a variety of fields. –ed.)

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