Utilizing xTEDS to Automate the Bus and Payload Checkout Process

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9453-10-M-0122
Agency Tracking Number: F093-068-0874
Amount: $99,985.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2009
Solicitation Topic Code: AF093-068
Solicitation Number: 2009.3
Small Business Information
2017 Yale SE, Albuquerque, NM, 87106
DUNS: 828367883
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Kenneth Center
 Director of Software Technologies
 (505) 503-1563
Business Contact
 Donald Fronterhouse
Title: President
Phone: (505) 503-1563
Email: don@pnpinnovations.com
Research Institution
The process of readying a satellite for its operational service role once deployed from the launch vehicle can be an extremely time consuming process when employing traditional approaches – particularly for complex imaging sensors that require the manipulation of many controls to converge on the ability to acquire data products of sufficient quality to be militarily useful. The types of ground-directed checkout sequences that are traditionally applied to spacecraft have long latencies because of the availability of the space-ground link and the delays inherent in human-in-the-loop processes. PnP Innovations proposes to address this barrier by leveraging certain aspects of the Space Plug&play Avionics (SPA) data standards to create an automated checkout framework that can adapt to the inventory of spacecraft bus support components and mission sensors that comprise a mission. The resulting solution will be scalable and extensible to include a wide range of tactical missions of high value to AFRL and the Operationally Responsive Space office. Central to the architecture is a reasoning framework that can be progressively built upon to provide the “intelligence” required to autonomously traverse the highly non-linear calibration space of complex mission sensors. BENEFIT: The immediate application of the proposed architecture, techniques, and software is as an onboard system for tactical DoD satellites. We envision the technology as being utilized to foster greater tactical payoff to the DoD for SSA and for warfighter utility by reducing the time from deployment to fully functional operational service using satellite-resident decision making to speed the checkout and calibration process. The approach also has direct relevance to other space initiatives in the science and exploration including NASA’s technology qualification platforms, observation platforms, and interplanetary missions. The core technology of SOARS is applicable to many non-space applications. Military applications include command and control, air strike and mission planning, autonomous vehicle control and route planning, automated weapon platform subsystems control (e.g. submarines and B-2 bombers), transportation and supply planning and management, air traffic routing and air space management, spare parts allocation and distribution management, and numerous other wartime and peacetime applications. Commercial applications include industrial plant management, production line planning and control (especially robotic or automated production), control of large industrial facilities such as power plants and refineries, as well as many others. We also foresee that the Testbench infrastructure we are developing will be of significant value to mission developers who wish to begin the process of developing autonomy capabilities for their programs well in advance of the satellite’s assembly. The tools and the supporting infrastructure are intended to be cost effective so that they are affordable by a variety of commercial interests (including universities) while offering a direct path to a flight system.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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