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Autopilot Commander Conjunction-assessment Enabling a Starling and a System for Exchange and Deconfliction

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC21C0616
Agency Tracking Number: 150297
Amount: $997,830.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: T11
Solicitation Number: STTR_20_P2S
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2021-09-20
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-03-19
Small Business Information
7901 Sandy Spring Road, Suite 511
Laurel, MD 20707-3589
United States
DUNS: 101537046
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Austin Probe
 (301) 345-1535
Business Contact
 Everett Cary
Phone: (301) 345-1535
Research Institution
 The University of Texas at Austin
110 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 00000-0000
United States

 Nonprofit College or University

The problem of conjunction assessment or conjunction analysis (CA) is currently managed by groups monitoring space assets for collision risk and who alert operators so that they have the ability to maneuver their satellites to avoid potential collisions. The current turnaround time is such that unnecessary avoidance maneuvers are made out of an abundance of caution. As time passes and knowledge improves the conjunction risk is resolved. Also, the current system does not support autonomous systems that can perform their own maneuvers. Emergentrsquo;s Autopilot performs on-orbit CA for its cluster members while planning maneuvers to avoid collisions between members. Autopilot is being deployed to demonstrate on-board autonomous maneuvering as part of the Starling 1 mission. The current system for ground-based CA is hampering operations because it needs a long timeline for evaluating planned maneuvers. Emergentrsquo;s Commander provides autonomous execution capabilities for multi-agent systems. Emergent proposes to combine Commander and Autopilot to transition CA operations from the ground to space. This system will provide CA safety checks during maneuvers and continually monitor for external conjunction risks. This system will extend the current on-board CA capabilities of Autopilot to include the integration of a catalog of high-risk objects that are not part of its cluster. We will use Commander to trigger regular CA checks and implement responses when a high probability of collision is detected. Emergent and UT will develop a ground support system to enable operations of the on-board CA by identifying the catalog of high-risk objects and for sharing maneuvers. Emergent and UT will also investigate a framework for data-based decision making in the presence of high probability conjunction events that can support the development of a set of guidelines for Space Traffic Management (STM) and support future autonomous space infrastructure.

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

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