Form 9.B Project Summary



Proposal Number:


Project Title:

A Distributed Environment for Onboard

Planning and Scheduling

Technical Abstract (Limit 200 words)

Spacecraft autonomy has the potential for effecting

significant cost reductions in mission operation by

eliminating the need for dedicated ground staff. In

an autonomous operating mode, operators will

communicate only high-level goals and deadlines

directly to the spacecraft. The spacecraft will then

perform its own planning and scheduling,

decomposing the schedules into a set of primitive

actions by optimizing onboard resources, and then

execute autonomously. In this proposal, we present

a distributed approach to address this problem,

where a set of agents representing onboard

subsystems communicate and cooperate to achieve

goals. This kind of distributed planning and

scheduling emphasizes a decentralized organization,

where plans are generated and executed

co-operatively and concurrently by the subsystem

agents, taking into account system flight rules and

resource constraints. We address specifically the

resource optimization problem by its explicit

representation within the problem domain. The

reasoning performed by an agent will be based on a

constraint propagation paradigm, using hierarchical

knowledge structures popular in the AI planning

community. We are specifically targeting our effort

to enhance the existing planning and scheduling

capability of JPL's New Millennium Remote Agent

(NMRA) architecture.

Potential Commercial Applications (Limit 200 words)

There are potential commercial applications for

three important aspects of the technology in the

proposed distributed environment: 1) intelligent

agents and multi-agent systems; 2) planning and

scheduling; and 3) resource optimizations.

Intelligent agent technology is directly applicable to

commercial satellite systems, telecommunications

satellites and remote sensing space systems.

Applications of multi-agent technology exist in

airport control towers, electronic stock exchanges,

and transportation systems. Planning, scheduling

and resource optimization technology is directly

applicable to transportation and inventory control.

Name and Address of Principal Investigator (Name,

Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)

Subrata K. Das

Charles River Analytics

55 Wheeler Street

Cambridge , MA 02138-1125

Name and Address of Offeror (Firm Name, Mail Address,


Greg L. Zacharias

Charles River Analytics

55 Wheeler Street

Cambridge , MA 02138-1125