NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Automation and Planning
PROPOSAL TITLE:Distributed Plug-and-Play Planning and Scheduling System

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Emergent Space Technologies, Inc.
6301 Ivy Lane, Suite 700
Greenbelt ,MD 20770 - 6334
(301) 345 - 1535

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Timothy C. Esposito
6301 Ivy Lane, Suite 700
Greenbelt, MD  20770 -6334
(301) 345 - 1535

Planning and scheduling (P&S) is an essential task for managing current and future NASA missions. P&S systems are used in many areas of spacecraft operations including science planning, flight dynamics operations, and space and ground network scheduling. Typically, different tools are used by different users, possibly in different locations, for each of these functions because current tools are not suited to addressing all of a mission's P&S needs. There is thus an additional need to integrate the results of all these scheduling efforts, which increases mission cost, complexity, and risk. To address these issues, Emergent Space Technologies (Emergent) is proposing to develop a prototype plug-and-play P&S system that allows for heterogeneous, distributed scheduling of activities to occur simultaneously without conflict. The unique qualities of the proposed P&S system that will make it an innovative solution are the nature of how newly developed resources, tasks, and scheduling algorithms can easily be added to the system, how it will have an openly available and well-defined application programming interface (API) for developers to use, and how it will operate in a distributed environment as a resilient peer-to-peer architecture with no single points of failure. With these innovations in place, P&S implementations for flight dynamics, automation and autonomy, system monitoring, science planning, or any other activity can be developed and operated in remote locations and still be a fully-integrated solution.

There are many potential NASA applications in the spacecraft and exploration systems domains. Upcoming satellite missions and current re-engineering efforts that could take advantage of such a P&S system include LRO, ST-9, MMS, SDO, GLAST, WIND, POLAR, ACE, EOS (Terra, Aqua, and Aura), and SMEX (SAMPEX, SWAS, TRACE, and WIRE). Some of these satellites host six or more science instruments, including LRO and the EOS missions, which introduces a certain level of complexity that can be reduced by the proposed P&S system. The system would also be applicable to the GMSEC ground system architecture project. This product could be a GMSEC-compliant component that communicates on the middleware-based ground system to easily integrate with other ground system components. The Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) project at NASA GSFC has a need for more robust and tightly integrated P&S systems. The ESDIS project requires a vast amount of science data planning activities among multiple satellites. The upcoming crew exploration vehicle (CEV) project could also benefit greatly from the proposed P&S system.

The proposed P&S system can be applied to commercial and other government space industries directly. Sample commercial applications could include the OrbImage satellites or the replenished Iridium satellites. DoD and NOAA are government agencies that operate many satellites as well. An upcoming development effort that could take advantage of the new P&S system is the GOES-R weather satellite that will be operated by NOAA. P&S is not a need that is unique to the space industry and could be applied to almost any industry. However, to implement the P&S system to another domain a new series of resources, tasks, and scheduling algorithms will need to be developed. Since the API will be well-defined and simple to use, the turn-around time to adopt the P&S system to another domain will be relatively small. Example non-space implementations could include manufacturing automation or appointment scheduling for medical offices, customer service agencies, or hotels. In phase 2 and beyond, there will be many opportunities to commercialize the final product.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Computer System Architectures
Database Development and Interfacing
Expert Systems
Software Tools for Distributed Analysis and Simulation

Form Printed on 09-19-05 13:12