Orbit Logic is teamed with the University of Dayton Research Institution (UDRI) to develop the Microgravity Environment Autonomy for Robotic Satellites (MEARS) solution. MEARS is an effort to merge existing technology elements associated with robotic asset onboard sensing and perception, autonomous planning and response, and inter-asset communication for coordination – into a high-reliability architecture that leverages the ROS 2 (and the evolving Space ROS) open software projects to facilitate data interaction between modular elements. Orbit Logic is bringing our mature Autonomous Planning System (APS) solution for asset-level resource planning and decentralized planning to accomplish mission-level goals with a team of heterogeneous, networked assets. UDRI is bringing its motion control, trajectory planning and team navigation planning capabilities, which have been realized in their Real-Time Adaptable Autonomy Kernel solution (RT-AAK), components of which can be flexibly built and deployed to CPU, GPU and FPGA-based computing resources. UDRI is employing advanced online learning-enabled model predictive control (MPC) techniques to achieve effective AI/ML capabilities. Both APS and RT-AAK are modular, layered solutions with strong synergy that together will be highly enabling technology for a variety of space robotic applications. The Phase I effort will define a unified architecture combing the technologies, using ROS 2 as the mechanism for standardizing the module interfaces to ensure interoperability. This work will be intentionally aligned with the ongoing work of the Space ROS initiative. Our initial use cases will target robotic team collaborative mission in microgravity environments, notably operations of heterogeneous teams in asteroid fields with initially unknown and highly dynamic objects of interest. UDRI’s Autonomous Systems Lab, with hardware in the loop and high-fidelity dynamics simulation, will be used for prototype verification and validation.
MEARS will be highly applicable to exploration missions targeting the asteroid belt, comets, Mars and the outer planets. Significant communication delays to and from Earth makes it essential that individual swarm assets employ adaptive decision-making and coordinate effectively to operate successfully in challenging dynamic environments. Reliability is of paramount importance for these distant missions. MEARS will incorporate high-heritage technologies such as CFE/CFS and Space ROS for mission assurance.
Heterogeneous air/ground teams for search and rescue and fire prevention/mitigation. Mine detection/mitigation. Cave exploration/rescue. Mapping/acquisition for data analytics. Underwater vehicles performing bottom survey and feature inspection. Highly reliable autonomy software for space station inspection/maintenance. Complex multi-vehicle rendezvous and docking.