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Ground tools for autonomy in the 21st century

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4 Author(s)
Rajan, K. ; NASA Ames Res. Center, Moffett Field, CA, USA ; Shirley, M. ; Taylor, W. ; Kanefsky, B.

Ground tools for unmanned spacecraft are changing rapidly driven by twin innovations: advanced autonomy and ubiquitous networking. Critical issues are the delegation of low-level decision-making to software, the transparency and accountability of that software, mixed-initiative control, i.e., the ability of controllers to adjust portions of the software's activity without disturbing other portions, and the makeup and geographic distribution of the flight control team. These innovations will enable ground controllers to manage space-based resources much more efficiently and, in the case of science missions, give principal investigators an unprecedented level of direct control. This paper explores these ideas by describing the ground tools for the Remote Agent experiment aboard the Deep Space 1 spacecraft in May of 1999. The experiment demonstrated autonomous control capabilities including goal-oriented commanding, on-board planning, robust plan execution and model-based fault protection. We then speculate on the effect of these technologies on the future of spacecraft ground control

Published in:

Aerospace Conference Proceedings, 2000 IEEE  (Volume:7 )

Date of Conference: