An Intelligent Autonomous Executive for cFS Distributed Spacecraft Missions

Period of Performance: 06/10/2016 - 06/09/2017


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Emergent Space Technologies, Inc.
6411 Ivy Lane, Suite 303
Greenbelt, MD 20770
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

University of Florida
339 Weil Hall
Gainsville, FL 32611
Institution POC


Distributed Spacecraft Missions (DSM) have become increasingly important in the effort to extend the capabilities of instruments to gather critical Earth and Space science data. DSMs, which include constellations, formations and clusters, have already been employed and have been proposed for several future space science missions. The Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission is a current Solar-terrestrial Probe mission comprising four identically instrumented spacecraft flying in a relatively close formation to study the Earth?s magnetosphere. Although they open up new science frontiers and new possibilities for satellite design, constellations will be limited if their operations costs scale with the number of satellites. A key enabling technology for future DSMs will be their ability to operate with a level of autonomy to leverage the capabilities of a standard-sized team of satellite operators to safely operate a fleet of satellites. Our innovation is the development of a cFS App suite, called the Distributed Automation Suite for Heuristic Execution and Response (DASHER), which extends the current state of the art in onboard automation for spacecraft flight software. The main component of DASHER is a mission manager that can execute science observation and engineering plans intelligently. DASHER uses a common planning language to intelligently execute plans.