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Air Force Research Laboratory Visitors

Staff and contractors from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) visited NASA Ames’ Intelligent Systems Division for a two-day discussion of ongoing and potential collaborations between NASA and the AFRL Kirtland Air Force Base. Staff from the NASA Intelligent Systems Division (Code TI), the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and companies working on NASA Small Business Initiative Research (SBIR) tasks also attended this meeting. AFRL has developed autonomous satellites as part of previous flight demonstrations, including TacSAT-2 and TacSAT-3. In the near future they are interested in taking advantage of new technologies in automation, autonomy, and Integrated Systems Health Management (ISHM) to demonstrate capabilities such as threat detection, threat response, and autonomous mission management. These capabilities may reside either onboard a single spacecraft, distributed between multiple cooperating spacecraft, or as part of a distributed network of sensors.

Dr. Jeremy Frank (ARC TI) provided an overview of NASA needs for automation and autonomy. Paul Zetocha (AFRL) provided an overview of AFRL needs for automation and autonomy, and described NASA’s automated planning and scheduling technology developed for use in operating the International Space Station (ISS). Ryan Mackey (JPL) described the TacSAT-3 VSM (TVSM) project, funded by NASA's Exploration Technology Development Program (ETDP). Mark Schwabacher (ARC TI) described the Ares 1-X Ground Diagnostics Project (GDP) funded by ETDP. Craig Pires and Howard Cannon (ARC TI) described the NASA LADEE flight software architecture. David Kortenkamp (TRACLabs) and David Musliner (SIFT LLC) described work to automate planning and plan execution onboard a satellite. Phil Courtney (SRA) described an onboard satellite software architecture developed for AFRL. And Rick Adams (Barron Associates) described an application of NASA's Hybrid Diagnosis Engine (HyDE) for satellite threat detection.

BACKGROUND: For the last several years NASA has collaborated with AFRL and its contractors to develop automation and autonomy technology that can benefit both NASA and the Department of Defense (DoD). The TacSAT TVSM project was a collaboration to retire Constellation program risks, specifically for Orion software. TRACLabs and SIFT LLC both receive NASA and Air Force SBIR funding, and are engaged in reusing technology developed for NASA to meet AFRL requirements with NASA assistance. SRA has evaluated NASA Open Source software for use as part of an onboard spacecraft. Finally, Barron Associates has a Space Act Agreement to work with NASA to evaluate technology developed for NASA to meet AFRL requirements.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: ESMD

TEAM MEMBERS: Jeremy Frank, Ann Patterson Hine, Mark A. Schwabacher, Howard N. Cannon, Ryan M. Mackey, and Kenneth A. Hicks.

Contact: Jeremy Frank

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