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Proceedings Paper

Remote agent prototype for spacecraft autonomy
Author(s): Barney Pell; Douglas E. Bernard; Steve Chien; Erann Gat; Nicola Muscettola; P. Pandurang Nayak; Michael D. Wagner; Brian C. Williams
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Paper Abstract

NASA has recently announced the New Millennium Program (NMP) to develop 'faster, better, cheaper' spacecraft in order to establish a 'virtual presence' in space. A crucial element in achieving this vision is onboard spacecraft autonomy, requiring us to automate functions which have traditionally been achieved on ground by humans. These include planning activities, sequencing spacecraft actions, tracking spacecraft state, ensuring correct functioning, recovering in cases of failure and reconfiguring hardware. In response to these challenging requirements, we analyzed the spacecraft domain to determine its unique properties and developed an architecture which provided the required functionality. This architecture integrates traditional real-time monitoring and control with constraint-based planning and scheduling, robust multi-threaded execution, and model-based diagnosis and reconfiguration. In a five month effort we successfully demonstrated this implemented architecture in the context of an autonomous insertion of a simulated spacecraft into orbit around Saturn, trading off science and engineering goals, and achieving the mission goals in the face of any single point of hardware failure. This scenario turned out to be among the most complex handled by each of the component technologies. As a result of this success, the integrated architecture has been selected to control the first NMP flight, Deep Space One, in 1998. It will be the first AI system to autonomously control an actual spacecraft.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 October 1996
PDF: 17 pages
Proc. SPIE 2810, Space Sciencecraft Control and Tracking in the New Millennium, (28 October 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.255150
Show Author Affiliations
Barney Pell, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Douglas E. Bernard, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Steve Chien, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Erann Gat, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Nicola Muscettola, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
P. Pandurang Nayak, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Michael D. Wagner, Fourth Planet (United States)
Brian C. Williams, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2810:
Space Sciencecraft Control and Tracking in the New Millennium
E. Kane Casani; Mark A. Vander Does, Editor(s)

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