The Planning Execution Monitoring (PEM) architecture is a design concept for developing autonomous cockpit command and control software. The PEM architecture is designed to reduce the operations costs in the space transportation system through the use of automation while improving safety and operability of the system. Specifically, the PEM autonomous framework enables automatic performance of many vehicle operations that would typically be performed by a human. Also, this framework supports varying levels of autonomous control, ranging from fully automatic to fully manual control.

The PEM autonomous framework interfaces with the “core” flight software to perform flight procedures. It can either assist human operators in performing procedures or autonomously execute routine cockpit procedures based on the operational context. Most importantly, the PEM autonomous framework promotes and simplifies the capture, verification, and validation of the flight operations knowledge. Through a hierarchical decomposition of the domain knowledge, the vehicle command and control capabilities are divided into manageable functional “chunks” that can be captured and verified separately. These functional units, each of which has the responsibility to manage part of the vehicle command and control, are modular, re-usable, and extensible. Also, the functional units are self-contained and have the ability to plan and execute the necessary steps for accomplishing a task based upon the current mission state and available resources.

The PEM architecture has potential for application outside the realm of spaceflight, including management of complex industrial processes, nuclear control, and control of complex vehicles such as submarines or unmanned air vehicles.

This work was done by Lui Wang, Bebe Ly, and Alan Crocker of Johnson Space Center; Debra Schreckenghost of Metrica Inc; Stephen Mueller and Bob Phillips of Titan-LinCom Corp.; and David Wadsworth and Charles Sorensen of Lockeed Martin Corp. For further information, contact the Johnson Commercial Technology Office at (281) 483-3809. MSC-23628-1

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