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Advanced Caution and Warning System Monitors Health of Orion Critical Vehicle Systems for EFT-1
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Advanced Caution and Warning System Monitors Health of Orion Critical Vehicle Systems for EFT-1

The Advanced Caution and Warning Systems (ACAWS) project monitored the health of Orion critical vehicle systems using live data transmitted to the ground during the Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) mission. The ACAWS system was designed to monitor the mission from launch through splashdown to display information about failures and provide information on the effects of failures. With a user interface developed in close collaboration with the Johnson Space Center (JSC) Flight Operations Directorate, the ACAWS team demonstrated future Mission Control Center and onboard displays that maximize situational awareness during failures. ACAWS determines the cause of failures and identifies components that are affected by failures, both loss of function and loss of redundancy of critical equipment, to provide a comprehensive view of the health of the spacecraft after a failure. ACAWS also assists operators using “what-if” queries that identify next-worst failures to help operations teams be prepared for the most critical system failures.

Using the Rapid Prototyping Lab facility at Johnson Space Center, in preparation for the mission, the ACAWS team previously completed a formal evaluation of ACAWS in a realistic mission-control environment using failure simulations developed jointly by the ACAWS team and Honeywell (acting under a Space Act Agreement with NASA). The results of the evaluation along with performance data from the EFT-1 mission provide critical information to guide future ACAWS development that will help achieve the quality of information necessary for autonomous spacecraft operations during long distance and long-duration missions in the solar system. The EFT-1 flight revealed a number of small configuration changes that would improve diagnoses. Additionally, flight controllers provided feedback that they preferred fewer, longer test scenarios, to better evaluate the technology. Finally, flight controllers working operations during EFT-1 indicated availability and interest in conducting a second round of evaluations. For these reasons, a 'delta' evaluation is planned in early February. This second evaluation will significantly complement the previous assessment of the utility of ACAWS, and will provide valuable input for the use of ACAWS during the next exploration mission, Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1).

The EFT-1 ACAWS project is a part of the Autonomous Systems and Operations (ASO) project and collaborates closely with the Autonomous Systems Project of the Game Changing Development program. The ASO ACAWS project uses software and tools developed by Ames Research Center and industry. The Autonomous Systems project provided a previously developed Diagnostic Executive, a System Effects Reasoner, and a display framework that was integrated with new software developed for EFT-1 that included the Orion Fault Model, customized ACAWS user interfaces for EFT-1, and interface software for Orion EFT-1 data connections.

BACKGROUND: The ACAWS project is an element of the Autonomous Systems and Operations project in the Advanced Exploration Systems program. The purpose of the Autonomous Systems and Operations 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 (NEA’s) 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, the roles and responsibilities of ground and crew, and the ways that ground and crew interact during the mission.

The ASO project is building advanced technology to conduct experiments both onboard the International Space Station (ISS) and during the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV)/Orion Exploration Flight Test to demonstrate crew autonomy and Mission Control Center automation. ASO is a collaboration between NASA's Ames Research Center, Johnson Space Center, and Marshall Space Flight Center.

The Autonomous Systems (AS) project is a collaborative project with civil servant and contractor support at six NASA centers, focusing on demonstrating new development for autonomy, diagnostics, prognostics, and mission control technologies on mission-relevant testbeds. As part of the Game-Changing Development program, its emphasis is on innovative ideas to enable new capabilities, or to radically alter current approaches to launch, build, and operate space systems.

COLLABORATORS: ARC: Gordon Aaseng (ACAWS Team Lead), Eric Barszcz, Vijay Baskaran, Jeremy Johnson, Rob McCann, Bill McDermott, John Ossenfort, Ernie Smith, Irene Smith, Lilly Spirkovska, Adam Sweet, and Henry Valdez; JSC: Mike Fitzpatrick, Jeff Fox, Carlos Garcia-Galan, Terry Keeler, Lee Morin, and Nancy Rustemeyer; Honeywell: Ed Kabbas

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: Autonomous Systems and Operations (ASO) project, Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) program, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD); Autonomous Systems (AS) project, Game Changing Development (GCD) program, Space Technologies Mission Directorate (STMD)

Contact: Jeremy Frank

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