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Plan Generation for Autonomous Small Spacecraft Swarms

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC22CA147
Agency Tracking Number: 213012
Amount: $749,820.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: Z8
Solicitation Number: SBIR_21_P2
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-05-04
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-05-03
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
 Tim Woodbury
 (301) 345-1535
Business Contact
 Everett Cary
Phone: (301) 345-1535
Research Institution

Spacecraft operators are increasingly exploring distributed mission concepts and moving to more remote regimes, presenting new technical challenges that can be addressed by onboard autonomy capabilities. Onboard planning enables new tasks to be assimilated independently of ground commands, enhancing near-Earthnbsp;operationsnbsp;and enabling remote operations. Modern sensor algorithms can run locally on spacecraft to detect potential tasks, such as data collection opportunities for civil science missions, or launch events for defense missions. Planning capabilities are needed to prioritize and schedule tasks with overlapping windows of opportunity without the need for human intervention.nbsp;nbsp;Our proposed innovation, which we callnbsp;Adjutant, is flight software (FSW) for planning that leverages state of the art optimization methods for scalability and relevance to current operations, an open systems approach to plan management from multiple sources, and code generation to simplify mission integration and reduce development time for operators. Adjutant is directly relevant to applications identified in our subtopic, such as missions operating ldquo;autonomously and cooperatively at cislunar or more remote destinationsrdquo; by reducing and eventually eliminating the need for ldquo;ground-based semiautonomous schedulingrdquo;. Reducing the need for ground-based operations enables more efficient operation of near-Earthnbsp;constellations, andnbsp;can be extended to enable persistent remote operations in Cislunar or more remote environments.nbsp;Our proposed Phase II extension will develop FSW prototypes of planning, goal monitoring, and plan management applications. In conjunction with our existing FSW applications, Adjutant will enable onboard planning and execution of complex missions, including activities such as station keeping, navigation, and fault recovery. Onboard planning will support missions including Earth science such as Landsat Next,nbsp;heliophysicsnbsp;such as GDC, and exploration such asnbsp;LunaNet.nbsp;

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

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