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Proceedings Paper

Controlling Real-Time Processes On The Space Station With Expert Systems
Author(s): David Leinweber; John Perry
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Paper Abstract

Many aspects of space station operations involve continuous control of real-time processes. These processes include electrical power system monitoring, propulsion system health and maintenance, environmental and life support systems, space suit checkout, on-board manufacturing, and servicing of attached vehicles such as satellites, shuttles, orbital maneuvering vehicles, orbital transfer vehicles and remote teleoperators. Traditionally, monitoring of these critical real-time processes has been done by trained human experts monitoring telemetry data. However, the long duration of space station missions and the high cost of crew time in space creates a powerful economic incentive for the development of highly autonomous knowledge-based expert control procedures for these space stations. In addition to controlling the normal operations of these processes, the expert systems must also be able to quickly respond to anomalous events, determine their cause and initiate corrective actions in a safe and timely manner. This must be accomplished without excessive diversion of system resources from ongoing control activities and any events beyond the scope of the expert control and diagnosis functions must be recognized and brought to the attention of human operators. Real-time sensor based expert systems (as opposed to off-line, consulting or planning systems receiving data via the keyboard) pose particular problems associated with sensor failures, sensor degradation and data consistency, which must be explicitly handled in an efficient manner. A set of these systems must also be able to work together in a cooperative manner. This paper describes the requirements for real-time expert systems in space station control, and presents prototype implementations of space station expert control procedures in PICON (process intelligent control). PICON is a real-time expert system shell which operates in parallel with distributed data acquisition systems. It incorporates a specialized inference engine with a specialized scheduling portion specifically designed to match the allocation of system resources with the operational requirements of real-time control systems. Innovative knowledge engineering techniques used in PICON to facilitate the development of real-time sensor-based expert systems which use the special features of the inference engine are illustrated in the prototype examples.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 February 1987
PDF: 1 pages
Proc. SPIE 0729, Space Station Automation II, (20 February 1987); doi: 10.1117/12.964854
Show Author Affiliations
David Leinweber, LISP Machine, Inc. (United States)
John Perry, OAO, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0729:
Space Station Automation II
Wun C. Chiou, Editor(s)

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