Autonomous On-Board Control of Satellites for Space Superiority
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AbstractABSTRACT: Future spacecraft could benefit from onboard planning and scheduling autonomy to effectively fulfill their missions. By eliminating the need to wait for the ground, planning decisions can be made faster based on event and status information available onboard. This is especially important for spacecraft where continuous communication is unavailable or for events that need a quick response to take advantage of an opportunity or to respond to a detected threat. Onboard planning and scheduling can be particularly challenging because of limited onboard processing resources. In the Phase I effort, Orbit Logic and Emergent Space Technologies researched algorithm options, defined high-level requirements, outlined an operations concept, and designed a modular and scalable autonomous planning architecture to solve complex and varied planning challenges within the limitations of onboard resources. A limited prototype of a portion of the architecture was developed and demonstrated during Phase I in a simulated flight software environment. In Phase II the same team will further refine the requirements, architecture, and design and prototype all elements of the software architecture defined during Phase I. The Phase II prototype will be run in a simulated flight software environment against multiple relevant use cases including collision avoidance and threat verification imaging, and the scalability of the design will be analyzed and tested. BENEFIT: The development of this onboard planning application will provide a configurable flight software application easily modified for new missions that will enable significantly faster responses to unanticipated events including detected threats to a spacecraft's health and safety. Such a configurable onboard planning application is not available today. many missions (civil, military, and commercial) could benefit from such a flight software application to enhance their effectiveness and help ensure their survival.
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