The current Mission Control Center (MCC) is dedicated to the execution of human spaceflight missions. As the future of NASA and human space evolves, it is clear that robotic artifacts will ultimately be integrated and immersed into the human mission. In order to make the evolution and integration as technically capable at a constrained risk level and with reasonable cost, the robotic elements must adhere to standards that allow not only reuse of previous work, but keep the interfaces stable and reusable.
The MIRA project integrates several telerobotic functions into a powerful Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) international standards- based telerobotic service capable of running in an International Space Station (ISS) payload computer. The MIRA goal was to mature, integrate, and demonstrate the MIRA concept (see figure), with Spacecraft Monitoring and Control (SM&C), Asynchronous Messaging Service (AMS), and the Delay Tolerant Network (DTN) standards into a single integrated protocol system.
The ultimate goal of the MIRA project is to develop an application stack for all robotics, even complex ones. It will be capable of status and control of three different cameras on the Exposed Facility (the porch) of the ISS JEM Module from MCC. Each successive phase will add incremental capabilities such as the capability of handling Human Factors and Performance (HFP), and automatic/ semiautomatic change detection from imagery of spaceflight vehicles and equipment. In later project phases, it will include ground control of robotic assets over Earth-Moon-Mars time delays, and remote sensing of planetary surfaces and surface navigation.
This project seeks to develop a new standard for robotics such that interoperability with crewed as well as non-crewed elements is provided, assuring cost effective collaboration between NASA and the international space community. The evolution of the proposed standard will be coordinated through the CCSDS International Standards community. The confluence of the MIRA, SM&C/AMS/DTN standards, the robustness of DTN capability, and remote connectivity to ISS and ground assets (interoperability) will assure the JSC/MCC will be the hub of human, human precursor, and robotic missions where the mission components can be seamlessly integrated with other locations without excessive reconfiguration and integration costs that would render the MCC non-competitive.
The MIRA initial results have demonstrated robotic camera control that is applicable to near-Earth or distant applications where the DTN provides the bridge across the time delay impacts. The MIRA, SM&C/AMS/DTN standards-based status and control system software and protocol could be hardened, and expanded into the next-generation MCC protocol supporting human, robotic, and human-robotic missions. As such, this simple robotic camera prototype is a significant first step in the integration of robotic and human missions into true distant independent building blocks for future missions.
This work was done by Lindolfo Martinez, Thomas Rich, Steven Lucord, Thomas Diegelman, James Mireles, and Pete Gonzalez of Johnson Space Center. MSC-25164-1