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Dr. Jeremy Frank to Present Autonomous Systems and Operations Project Status at Advanced Exploration Systems Year-End Review
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Dr. Jeremy Frank to Present Autonomous Systems and Operations Project Status at Advanced Exploration Systems Year-End Review

Dr. Jeremy Frank will present end-of-year status of the Human Exploration Operations Mission Directorate-funded Autonomous Systems and Operations (ASO) project. The review will be part of the Advanced Exploration Systems End-of-Year Review at Marshall Spaceflight Center on October 10-12.

BACKGROUND: ASO works 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 ASO project is building advanced technology to conduct experiments onboard the International Space Station (ISS) as part of simulations for the Orion spacecraft, and in medium fidelity avionics testbeds in order to demonstrate crew autonomy and Mission Control Center (MCC) automation. Current ASO projects include two ISS flight demonstrations; crews will use Augmented Reality to perform maintenance and inspection procedures, and will autonomously manage part of the spacecraft while reasoning about operating constraints, the state of automation, and off-nominal system behavior. ASO is also assisting in development of scenarios and fault cases for an Orion simulation in which flight controllers and crews will evaluate displays, refine communication protocols, and use advanced caution and warning technology. Finally, ASO is working with other projects to perform an evaluation of fully autonomous management of a spacecraft habitat, running advanced planning, and plan execution and fault management algorithms on path-to-flight computers integrated with flight software. Continued ASO development pushes the state-of-the-art in how future crews can autonomously operate future spacecraft — regardless of destination. ASO is a collaboration between NASA Ames Research Center, NASA Johnson Space Center, and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: Human Exploration Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)

TEAM: Gordon Aaseng, Eric Barscz, John Bresina, Tamar Cohen, Michael Dalal, Matt Deans, Minh Do, Matt D’Ortenzio, Chuck Fry, Mike Iatauro, Jeremy Johnson, Chris Knight, David Lees, Richard Levinson, Paul Morris, John Ossenfort, Eleanor Reiffel, Mike Scott, Henry Valdez, Davide Venturelli, and Zhuihui Wang; INTERNS: Abiola Akanni, Parvathi Narayan, and Taylor Yates


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