SPIFe has played a key role in a wide variety of NASA missions and terrestrial analogs and simulations, ranging from daily science planning for the Mars Science Laboratory mission to crew and ground scheduling for the International Space Station.
The SPIFe toolkit was designed from the ground up with the needs of the mission operations user in mind, and it presents unique solutions to a number of problems common in other commercial and homegrown systems. Many planning tools are developed first as user-facing interfaces to automated planning systems, and do not allow users enough flexibility to explore plans in a number of different ways, quickly understand complex sets of constraints and their implications, or experiment with different solutions without fear of losing work. SPIFe was built to address those issues in a package that is usable directly by mission scientists to understand critical resource tradeoffs to maximize return from a given ops situation. SPIFe is an integrated planning and scheduling toolkit based on hundreds of hours of expert observation, use, and refinement of state-of-the-art planning and scheduling technology.SPIFe software allows for clear scheduling and reduces conflicts in schedules.
The SPIFe user interface is designed to be a highly adaptable and user-customizable framework for viewing and manipulating plan and schedule data. In order to achieve this, SPIFe employs a composable, plug-in architecture based on the the open source Java Eclipse Rich Client Platform (RCP). Eclipse provides a robust plug-in framework, and the RCP provides many fundamental user interface components, such a tabbed ”workbench” that allows users to manipulate views and editors to display the information most relevant to the task at hand.