NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-2 X1.01-8449
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Automation for Vehicle and Habitat Operations
PROPOSAL TITLE: SAFE-P: System for Assurance of Flight Executable Procedures

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
211 N. First Street, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55401 - 1480
(612) 578-7438

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
David Musliner
211 N. First Street, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55401 - 1480
(612) 612-9314

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 5 to 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
NASA operates manned spacecraft according to rigorously-defined standard
operating procedures. Unfortunately, operating procedures are often written in
different languages. For example, Orion will use automatic procedures written
in SCL, the Spacecraft Command Language, while backup manual procedures may be
developed in PRL, the Procedure Representation Language. However, procedures
developed in different languages may diverge, so that the backup PRL procedures
do not operate in the same way as the SCL procedures. This could lead to
unintended effects that may range from simply unexpected to inefficient or even

We propose to develop the SAFE-P tool, which will use formal model-checking
methods to prove that PRL and SCL procedures have the same underlying execution
semantics. Our Phase 1 effort validated the effectiveness of our approach;
Phase 2 will completely automate the model checking process and integrate with
the Procedure Integrated Development Environment (PRIDE). SAFE-P will thus
allow procedure authors to easily compare procedures as they are being
developed. When differences are found by SAFE-P, they will be highlighted
immediately in the PRIDE interface, allowing the operators to either fix
problems or annotate the respective procedures to explain the differences.
Using SAFE-P, NASA personnel will rapidly and confidently verify that if an
automatic SCL program cannot be executed, a backup manual procedure in PRL will
be equivalent and safe. Furthermore, as automatic translators are developed to
transform procedures in one language into another NASA-relevant language (e.g.,
Tietronix's current effort to translate PRL into SCL), the SAFE-P tool will
provide a critical validation mechanism to double-check the correctness of the
translation and highlight areas where the translator makes mistakes (or
deliberate approximations that yield different behavior).

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed SAFE-P tool will be applicable to a wide variety of NASA
missions including ISS, Shuttle, and Constellation operations. For
manned and unmanned spacecraft operations, SAFE-P will bridge a
critical gap in NASA's safety procedures, preventing the possibility
of inadvertent commands that do not conform to standard operating
procedures and that could lead to dangerous or even catastrophic

SAFE-P fits directly within NASA's Automation for Operations (A4O)
system concept, helping support significant reductions in operations
costs and increases in operational efficiency while maintaining or
improving system safety. The SAFE-P tool will be designed to
integrate with NASA's Procedure Integrated Development Environment
(PRIDE), seamlessly supporting efficient development of future
executable procedures and scripts.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Large-scale industrial control systems, in particular oil refineries,
paper mills, and food processing plants, also maintain a large library
of standard operating procedures which have been developed by system
designers and installers. These must be adapted on a daily basis to
the specific system configuration and product targets for manual or
automatic execution. The SAFE-P technology will be directly
applicable to ensuring that industrial plants' daily operating plans
and scripts conform to the standard operating procedures.

SAFE-P technology may also be applied when manually-operated
industrial control systems are being transitioned to more automated
control systems, to verify that newly-written executable control
scripts conform to legacy manual (textual) operating procedures.

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.

Autonomous Control and Monitoring
Autonomous Reasoning/Artificial Intelligence
Expert Systems
Human-Computer Interfaces
Integrated Robotic Concepts and Systems
Operations Concepts and Requirements
Simulation Modeling Environment
Software Development Environments
Software Tools for Distributed Analysis and Simulation
Testing Requirements and Architectures

Form Generated on 08-03-09 13:26