Autonomous Mission Management for Satellite Systems
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
Satellite intelligence information is being used increasingly for real-time operations. This requires satellites that can be quickly tasked for new objectives and that can respond to opportunistic situations and external threats. The usefulness of satellites and satellite information would be increased if the satellites could respond quickly and effectively with limited ground operator interaction. In addition, because satellites are increasingly important to modern warfare they also face increasing threats from anti-satellite weapons. Thus, they need a means to effectively and autonomously respond to these threats. This proposal offers an integrated planning and scheduling architecture for autonomously managing satellite missions called the Highly Autonomous Mission Manager for Event Response (HAMMER) system. The HAMMER system will allow a satellite to operate and respond to threats even when it is not in communication with the ground or when time constraints require immediate response to threats. The HAMMER system will attempt to meet mission objectives even in the face of threats. HAMMER will prioritize multiple, competing user goals and requests and determine an optimal ordering of satellite tasks to conserve resources and maximize capability. HAMMER will also ensure that the plan is safe from known threats to the satellite. BENEFIT: This proposal will produce a collection of software components that will enable the automation of vehicles such as satellites, unmanned vehicles (e.g., unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), unmanned surface vehicles (USVs), etc.), and manned vehicles (e.g., aircraft, spacecraft, ships, etc.). DOD applications include the Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN), the Air Force Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) program, programs such as Global Hawk and Predator UAVs, Joint STARS ground surveillance systems and various ELINT/COMINT assets, the Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and the Army Future Combat Systems (FCS) program. NASA has similar needs to DOD in enabling more autonomy for both manned and unmanned spacecraft. Commercial aerospace companies operate numerous satellites for communication, navigation and imaging. These satellites systems are currently controlled from the ground operations. Increasing the autonomy of these satellites can save money and improve efficiency.
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