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Autonomous Mission Operations Project Presents Work at AIAA Space 2015 Conference
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Autonomous Mission Operations Project Presents Work at AIAA Space 2015 Conference

Three papers covering work done by the Autonomous Mission Operations (AMO) project for the last two years were presented at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Space 2015 conference. The papers are:

  • Aaseng, G et al. "Scaling Up Model-Based Diagnostic and Fault Effects Reasoning for Spacecraft"
  • J. Frank, D. Iverson, C. Knight, S. Narasimhan, K. Swanson, M. Scott, M. Windrem, K. Pohlkamp, J. Mauldin, K. McGuire, H. Moses. "Demonstrating Autonomous Mission Operations Onboard the International Space Station"
  • H. Stetson, J. Frank, A. Haddock, R. Cornelius; L. Wang; L. Garner. "AMO EXPRESS: A Command and Control Experiment for Crew Autonomy"
The first paper describes the development and testing of Advanced Caution and Warning (ACAWS) technology in conjunction with Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) last December. The second paper describes the development and testing of advanced crew-autonomy technology onboard the International Space Station (ISS) during a seven-month period from September 2014 - April 2015. The third paper describes the testing of automation technology to power up and configure ISS subsystems during November of 2014, in preparation for a flight experiment to take place in 2016. All three of these elements of the AMO project showcase strides made in autonomous mission operations technology, in preparation for future human spaceflight exploration missions. The AMO team at ARC spans the Autonomous Systems and Robotics, Computer Assisted Systems, and Discovery and Systems Health areas.

BACKGROUND: The purpose of the AMO project is to define vehicle capabilities, roles and responsibilities of ground and crew, and their interactions in order to enable NASA missions to distant destinations.

Future human spaceflight missions will place crews at large distances and light-time delays from Earth. The one-way light-time delay to the Moon is 1.2 seconds, which is sufficient to make continuous control (e.g., for landing) difficult or impossible to conduct from Earth. One-way light-time delays to destinations such as Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) at close approach range from seconds to minutes. The one-way light-time delay to Mars ranges from 3 minutes (at conjunction) to 22 minutes (at opposition). NASA will require autonomous mission operations when spacecraft crew are far away from Earth, because communication with the ground will incur long communication latencies. These missions will require changing the capabilities of spacecraft, changing the roles and responsibilities of ground and crew, and changing the ways that ground and crew interact during the mission.

Autonomous Mission Operations is the capability of a crewed spacecraft to plan and fly a mission with minimum support from the ground. The AMO project is building advanced technology to conduct experiments both onboard ISS and during the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV)/Orion Exploration Flight Test in order to demonstrate crew autonomy and Mission Control Center (MCC) automation. In the experiment onboard ISS during Increments 39 and 40, ISS crew will use new technology and operational protocols to recommend water sampling activities normally scheduled by the ground, analyze both water quality and water analyzer hardware performance, and report hardware problems and recommended solutions during a planned off-nominal use case. ISS crew will also use new technology to assess the performance of onboard computers and report problems and recommended solutions. This experiment will demonstrate how future crews can autonomously operate spacecraft assets similar to those expected to be on future spacecraft — regardless of destination.

PROGRAM FUNDING: Human Exploration Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)

COLLABORATORS: AMO is a collaboration between NASA Ames Research Center, NASA Johnson Space Center, and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

POC: Jeremy Frank,

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