NASA 1998 SBIR Phase I

PROPOSAL NUMBER: 98-1 09.05-6601B

PROJECT TITLE: Intelligent Assistance for Activity Planning in Space Facilities


We propose to develop intelligent software that assists a crew in planning activities while living in habitats like BIOPlex, Mars Transhab, and International Space Station. Progress has been made in developing autonomous planning and scheduling technology. The next step in fielding this technology in space applications is addressing how a crew can make effective use of such automated reasoning. Our approach is to integrate existing planning and scheduling reasoners with intelligent user interface software that assists the crew in using these reasoners. This requires developing new intelligent interface software that mediates crew interaction with a planner, a scheduler, and a plan executor (e.g., 3T architecture). This interface software will enable mixed-initiative interaction between the crew and these specialized reasoners. In such interaction the crew is responsible for plan generation and the intelligent interface assists the crew in allocating tasks to the reasoners and in understanding task results. This approach makes the crew more autonomous from operations support, which reduces operation costs and accommodates the communication delays and blackouts common in space exploration. This approach also gives the crew control of activity planning, which reduces the uncertainty of planning in complex, unpredictable space environments and makes costly plan failure less likely.


Planning and scheduling tasks are performed in a wide variety of industries, from schools and offices to manufacturing to space exploration. The types of industries that would benefit most from intelligent software assistance in performing these tasks are industries where resources are valuable and need to be coordinated among diverse groups of users. By managing the resources effectively and guaranteeing robust, viable schedules, industries can realize significant cost savings and smoothly run operations. Some of the target industries that can benefit from an intelligent interactive planning and scheduling system include:1. Facilities Management (hospitals, education and training, space operations) 2. Plant Operations (chemical, pharmaceuticals, food processing, manufacturing, assembly) 3. Transportation Systems (airlines, delivery systems, public transportation systems) 4. Strategic Planning (military operations, project planning, space exploration)


Debra Schreckenghost
Metrica Inc.
1012 Hercules
Houston , TX 77058


Metrica Inc.
10010 San Pedro, Suite 400
San Antonio , TX 78216-3856