NASA STTR 2016 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 16-2 T11.02-9713
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Distributed Spacecraft Missions (DSM) Technology Framework

NAME: Emergent Space Technologies, Inc. NAME: University of Pittsburgh
STREET: 7901 Sandy Spring Road, Ste. 511 STREET: 1238 Benedum Hall, 3700 O'Hara Street
CITY: Laurel CITY: Pittsburgh
STATE/ZIP: MD  20707 - 3589 STATE/ZIP: PA  15261 - 0001
PHONE: (301) 345-1535 PHONE: (412) 624-7400

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. Brendan O'Connor
7703 N. Lamar Blvd, Suite 210
Austin, TX 78752 - 1004
(301) 345-1535 Extension :401

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. Everett Cary Jr.
7901 Sandy Spring Road, Suite 511
Laurel, MD 20707 - 3589
(301) 345-1535 Extension :150

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 4
End: 5

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Distributed Spacecraft Missions (DSM) Technology Framework is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)

Increasing the level of spacecraft autonomy for any future space mission will make it more affordable and capable, allowing NASA to do more science with less operations costs. For future Distributed Space Missions (DSMs) however, spacecraft autonomy is critical to reducing costs to make the missions affordable and practical. The use of multiple satellites to simultaneously sample science observations in multiple spatial, spectral, angular, and temporal dimensions is feasible only if the mission operations costs do not scale up with the number of vehicles in the constellation. Accordingly, flight software technology that enables safe, cost-efficient on-board operation of satellite constellations is required. In Phase I of this project, Emergent Space Technologies, Inc. (Emergent) focused on the development of a highly capable executive for automating on-board satellite operations and coordinating operations between DSM satellites. Called Distributed Automation Suite for Heuristic Execution and Response (DASHER), the executive is compatible with NASA’s core Flight Software (cFS) suite to leverage existing flight software technology that has been proven on missions such as LRO, MMS and GPM and extend it to DSMs. In Phase I, we successfully demonstrated an autonomous Executive. In Phase II, we extend the executive function to provide a full cFS-based DSM autonomy framework that includes multiple planning agents, scheduling at the DSM level and at the satellite level, and fault detection, isolation, and recovery (FDIR). DSMs using this framework will be able to autonomously plan, schedule, and execute activities using shared resources. We demonstrate the technology in a realistic hardware-in-the-loop simulation for conceptual DSM missions targeted at Earth remote sensing.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Robust autonomy could benefit most NASA missions, but it is key enabler for Distributed Spacecraft Missions (DSMs). The Decadal Survey outlines several missions that make use of DSMs to enhance their science return. DASHER enables DSMs many ways, including decreased operational costs, more efficient science returns, increased robustness, enhanced flexibility and responsiveness, handling of mission complexity, and enabling new mission concepts. DASHER decreases operational costs by automating routine and tedious tasks and allowing the mission ground crews to focus on more critical and science enabling activities. The DSMs identified by the Decadal Study are the potential future customers of the DASHER. DASHER improves the robustness of DSMs because it can continue providing services even under off-nominal conditions. This feature enables goal-oriented operations where the operators communicate high-level goals and the on-board system adapts to accomplish the goal based on its actual state. Advanced mission concepts also become feasible with DASHER including highly responsive Earth Observation constellations or swarms of small satellites. These types of missions would be cost prohibitive without a high-level autonomy like DASHER. As a future part of the NASA cFS library of applications, the software developed under this project will give mission designers greater flexibility in designing solutions for scientific puzzles.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
In recent years, several commercial multi-satellite systems have been proposed including the OneWeb and Planet Labs constellations. OneWeb plans on providing global internet access while Planet Labs provides Earth imagery. These and other proposed constellations will all make use of autonomy to reduce operations costs. A general autonomy system like DASHER could make headway into markets like these, especially if it had a successful flight heritage. Commercial companies generally have standardized operations procedures that lend themselves well to automation. The fact that DASHER is built on the open source cFS platform that provides a multi-satellite infrastructure is also a beneficial feature for commercial customers. Emergent would market the DASHER Suite in these markets as licensable software.
The Department of Defense has for some time recognized the vulnerability of their large, monolithic satellites. The fact that these satellites are critical to the national defense makes them tempting targets to adversaries and efforts to reduce their exposure have included discussions of disaggregation, or splitting the payloads up into clusters of smaller satellites, and the related concept of distribution, which is the spreading of services over multiple identical satellites. The DASHER Suite could be used to reduce the operations cost of disaggregated or distributed satellite systems.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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.)
Algorithms/Control Software & Systems (see also Autonomous Systems)
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Command & Control
Process Monitoring & Control
Sequencing & Scheduling

Form Generated on 04-26-18 12:32