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Proceedings Paper

Orbital Express mission operations planning and resource management using ASPEN
Author(s): Caroline Chouinard; Russell Knight; Grailing Jones; Daniel Tran
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Paper Abstract

As satellite equipment and mission operations become more costly, the drive to keep working equipment running with less labor-power rises. Demonstrating the feasibility of autonomous satellite servicing was the main goal behind the Orbital Express (OE) mission. Like a tow-truck delivering gas to a car on the road, the "servicing" satellite of OE had to find the "client" from several kilometers away, connect directly to the client, and transfer fluid (or a battery) autonomously, while on earth-orbit. The mission met 100% of its success criteria, and proved that autonomous satellite servicing is now a reality for space operations. Planning the satellite mission operations for OE required the ability to create a plan which could be executed autonomously over variable conditions. As the constraints for execution could change weekly, daily, and even hourly, the tools used create the mission execution plans needed to be flexible and adaptable to many different kinds of changes. At the same time, the hard constraints of the plans needed to be maintained and satisfied. The Automated Scheduling and Planning Environment (ASPEN) tool, developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, was used to create the schedule of events in each daily plan for the two satellites of the OE mission. This paper presents an introduction to the ASPEN tool, an overview of the constraints of the OE domain, the variable conditions that were presented within the mission, and the solution to operations that ASPEN provided. ASPEN has been used in several other domains, including research rovers, Deep Space Network scheduling research, and in flight operations for the NASA's Earth Observing One mission's EO1 satellite. Related work is discussed, as are the future of ASPEN and the future of autonomous satellite servicing.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 April 2008
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 6958, Sensors and Systems for Space Applications II, 695806 (15 April 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.782454
Show Author Affiliations
Caroline Chouinard, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Russell Knight, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Grailing Jones, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Daniel Tran, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6958:
Sensors and Systems for Space Applications II
Richard T. Howard; Pejmun Motaghedi, Editor(s)

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