Easy-to-Employ Satellite and Space System Robustness

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9453-13-M-0081
Agency Tracking Number: F131-092-0679
Amount: $149,998.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2013
Solicitation Year: 2013
Solicitation Topic Code: AF131-092
Solicitation Number: 2013.1
Small Business Information
3921 Academy Parkway North, NE, 3rd Floor, Albuquerque, NM, -
DUNS: 828367883
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Ken Center
 Software Director
 (505) 503-1563
Business Contact
 Jeremy Werderman
Title: Administrative Director
Phone: (505) 503-1563
Email: jeremy.werderman@pnpinnovations.com
Research Institution
ABSTRACT: Investing in innovation that moves toward the widespread use of satellite autonomy has the potential to yield significant benefits to the space situational awareness (SSA) community. Most notably, if satellite platforms have the ability to detect and respond to events without exchanging information over the space-to-ground link (which is subject to latency and availability limits), their response times can be significantly shortened, leading to higher overall system utility. PnP Innovations has been supporting the development of an Autonomous Mission Manager (AMM) framework for application to space systems. AMM embraces a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) paradigm for autonomy within platforms as well as between federated, collaborating assets. Rules-based behavioral specifications of responses to non-deterministic events are one ongoing research area of the effort. PnP Innovations is leveraging JPL"s STAARS process to facilitate the generation of rules from graphical UML StateCharts. Diagrams are a system engineer"s or system operator"s preferred means of capturing system behaviors. Keeping rule files automatically synched with those representations speeds the deployment cycle and eliminates inconsistencies between design and implementation because no software programming is required. STAARS also verifies the completeness and coverage of specified behaviors at any point in the process, providing operational assurance prior to deployment. BENEFIT: As we progress with our AMM development effort, it has become increasingly clear that there are many applications that benefit from the features that it offers. The original target domain of modular satellite component selection was a starting point that has revealed a raft of other markets some that we are already pursuing and others that are yet to be explored. In the satellite realm, there is broad appeal to a range of missions from cubestats, to small tactical satellites, to hosted payloads on large commercial platforms. The major benefits afforded by STAARS coupled with the ASPIRE approach to interconnecting commodity modules include streamlining of the design and integration process, direct transition from system behavior capture to flight-ready software artifacts, simplification of testing by standardizing mechanisms for data injection, high to complete re-use of software modules, and virtual elimination of the time devoted to setting up test environments and ground stations (due to the ability to auto-generate from ICDs delivered by the elements of the system. The Operationally Responsive Space office at Kirtland, various universities, NASA, and certain large commercial aerospace primes have all shown serious interest in this type of technology all realizing the long term benefits toward efficient and sustainable processes. The medical field is another area that can benefit from ASPIRE-like technologies and the STAARS front-end capability that supports system design and configuration. In the same way that a space information system needs the ability to be easy to integrate and maintain, so does a distributed system of health monitoring devices, biometric trending, and event response functions to safely maintain independent home living. At PnP Innovations, we are devoting internal research efforts toward this problem using the ASPIRE framework. The aviation industry is another potential target. Although we have not courted this possibility, there is opportunity for the use of similar systems within aviation platforms (to make configuration of avionics or munitions systems more straightforward and promote ease of upgrade), or to interconnect distributed functions such as ground support system tracking information and aircraft metadata for military or civil applications. UAVs, with their highly autonomous pilotless operational use cases and vast array of sensor-supported mission sets offer one of the most enticing opportunities to integrate a powerful net-centric paradigm for system constitution and data management. AMM, while currently considering the space domain, is by no means specific to it. In fact, it would be quite straightforward to include UAV assets with militarily useful assets into the use cases that we are currently developing the AMM demonstration series.

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

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