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Proceedings Paper

How autonomy and the web are taking the people out of TacSat-2
Author(s): Charles J. Finley
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Paper Abstract

One of the most costly components of the on-orbit operation of a spacecraft is the people that execute the mission. Historically, for Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the Department of Defense Space Test Program (STP) research and development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) space missions, a team of fifteen personnel maintains 24-hour coverage for the three-week Launch and Early Operations (L/EO) phase of the mission and four one-week L/EO rehearsals. During the Nominal Operations phase of the mission, 2.5 "man-days" of support are necessary each day that the spacecraft remains on-orbit, as well as during the two, week-long, nominal operations rehearsals. Therefore, the mission-dedicated personnel contribution to the cost of a one-year mission is more than eleven man-years, and this does not include the personnel that actually operate the antennas at the various remote ground facilities or develop and maintain the mission-specific or shared-use ground network, hardware, and software. In the low-budget RDT&E world, hardware, software, or Concept of Operations (CONOPS) developments that significantly reduce the necessary Operations personnel investment can mean the difference between a mission that does or does not survive. This paper explores the CONOPS and suite of tools that the TacSat-2 program has put together to achieve maximum mission effectiveness at minimum manpower cost.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 June 2006
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 6220, Spaceborne Sensors III, 62200R (6 June 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.668377
Show Author Affiliations
Charles J. Finley, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6220:
Spaceborne Sensors III
Richard T. Howard; Robert D. Richards, Editor(s)

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