Software has been developed to perform a number of functions essential to autonomous operation in the Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment (ASE), which is scheduled to be demonstrated aboard a constellation of three spacecraft, denoted TechSat 21, to be launched by the Air Force into orbit around the Earth in January 2006. A prior version of this software was reported in "Software for an Autonomous Constellation of Satellites" (NPO-30355), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 26, No. 11 (November 2002), page 44.

The software includes the following components:

  • Algorithms to analyze image data, generate scientific data products, and detect conditions, features, and events of potential scientific interest;
  • A program that uses component-based computational models of hardware to analyze anomalous situations and to generate novel command sequences, including (when possible) commands to repair components diagnosed as faulty;
  • A robust-execution-management component that uses the Spacecraft Command Language (SCL) software to enable event-driven processing and low-level autonomy; and
  • The Continuous Activity Scheduling, Planning, Execution, and Replanning (CASPER) program for replanning activities, including downlink sessions, on the basis of scientific observations performed during previous orbit cycles.

This program was written by Robert Sherwood, Russell Knight, Gregg Rabideau, Steve Chien, Daniel Tran, Benjamin Cichy, Rebecca Castaño, Timothy Stough, and Ashley Davies of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Don Hart of the California Institute of Technology at (818) 393-3425. Refer to NPO-30784.

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
The TechSat 21 Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment

(reference NPO30784) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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This article first appeared in the March, 2004 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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