Applying New Approaches in Platform Autonomy to Satellite Protection for Defensive Counterspace
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
Developing a more efficient and capable decision support system for defensive counterspace can be accomplished in part by adopting autonomous operations approaches to the management of individual satellites platforms and allowing tactical satellites in a constellation to employ "cooperative autonomy" to collectively achieve expressed objectives. Threat detection, identification, and response implemented in autonomy on individual spacecraft allows each member of a constellation to participate in a distributed network, and the use of higher-powered processing on-orbit allows lower level signal fusion (and even higher level fusion with coordinated data exchanged on the space-space link between satellites) to be conducted without the latencies incurred by ground contact opportunities - thus improving space situational awareness. We have worked with AFRL to develop data-centric software techniques and configuration tools that facilitate the rapid assembly of modular spacecraft assets to provide desired operational capability. These capabilities embody the Space Plug&play Avionics (SPA) standards designed to facilitate rapid call-up of tactical space capability. Continued development will address the translation of mission objectives to a constellation of tactical satellites, a methodology for data exchange between satellites engaging in cooperative autonomous operations, and the ability to perform coordinated tactical simulations on an entire fleet of satellites employing these techniques.
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