Space Collaboration via an Agent Network (SCAN)

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8650-10-C-6120
Agency Tracking Number: F083-026-1151
Amount: $750,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2008
Solicitation Topic Code: AF083-026
Solicitation Number: 2008.3
Small Business Information
12 Gill Street, Suite 1400, Woburn, MA, 01801
DUNS: 967259946
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Nathan Schurr
 Human Agent Collaboration
 (781) 496-2453
Business Contact
 Margaret Clancy
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Phone: (781) 496-2415
Research Institution
Decentralization and heterogeneity have dominated the development and deployment of space assets and accompanying command and control (C2) infrastructures. As a consequence, information requirements for robust Space Situational Awareness (SSA) are highly distributed. The mission threads common for SSA are complex and often require expert insight from several agencies, sophisticated systems and tools under multiple commands, and the most current data that may be held by intelligence agencies, public research interests, and commercial owner/operators. Thus, it can often be difficult to have the right data at the right time for the right operator. These challenges provide Aptima, with the support of Omitron, the opportunity to demonstrate an innovative, agent-based approach to enhance the collaboration among the various agency producers and consumers of space information. Our proposed approach, titled Space Collaboration via an Agent Network (SCAN), enables proxy agents to represent each of the stakeholder agencies for space. The agent-based approach is uniquely capable of addressing the collaboration challenges from both the technical and organizational perspectives. The SCAN agent network will facilitate collaboration by identifying opportunities to collaborate, as well as optimizing the processes given the mission context. BENEFIT: The SCAN project presents a pro-active agent-based approach to collaboration that results in the optimization of organizational interactions for Space Situational Awareness. The SCAN proxy agents will represent each potential collaborator continuously to all, for persistent and enduring collaboration. By configuring and constraining agent actions, users will be provided with an automatic system to track, ensure privacy, and maintain security during collaboration. The addition of computational experiments using the SCAN agent based system will allow for the identification of bottlenecks, constraints, effects of current organizational constraints and estimation of the quantifiable benefits to the SCAN approach. For example, one could test the effects of new collaboration policies or pose threat events and see the instant lockdown of collaboration. The SCAN approach will result in better collaboration for SSA because it will leverage Aptima’s background Team Science and Collaboration Technology. Aptima is a leader in developing and improving Sociotechnical Systems. The SCAN approach is focused on identifying collaboration barriers in the space community and addressing them by building on existing agent systems and human-agent collaboration expertise. Aptima’s focus on transition to and constant engagement with the operational users will result in immediate applicability of SCAN to address current and near-term Space Domain Challenges, such as the FLTCs and Space Tasking Order. Our project partner, Omitron, provides extensive experience in analysis and operational approaches to Space Situational Awareness, Space Surveillance and Space Control, and modeling and simulation of the Space Surveillance Network. Aptima, with the support of Omitron, will develop targeted Use Cases that identify the users that can benefit the most from SCAN. In addition, the Aptima team will meet and collaborate with these users to maintain the feasibility and usefulness of SCAN in order ensure its operational transition. Ball Aerospace has already previewed our plan for SCAN and has expressed interest in following our progress toward future adoption.

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

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