An important aspect of mission planning for NASA’s operation of the International Space Station is the allocation and management of space for supplies and equipment. The Stowage, Configuration Analysis, and Operations Planning teams collaborate to perform the bulk of that planning. A Geometric Reasoning Engine is developed in a way that can be shared by the teams to optimize item placement in the context of crew planning.
The ISS crew spends (at the time of this writing) a third or more of their time moving supplies and equipment around. Better logistical support and optimized packing could make a significant impact on operational efficiency of the ISS. Currently, computational geometry and motion planning do not focus specifically on the optimized orientation and placement of 3D objects based on multiple distance and containment preferences and constraints.
The software performs reasoning about the manipulation of 3D solid models in order to maximize an objective function based on distance. It optimizes for 3D orientation and placement. Spatial placement optimization is a general problem and can be applied to object packing or asset relocation.
This work was done by Bradley J. Clement and Russell L. Knight of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
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