Session

Technical Session 1: Mission Operations and Autonomy

Location

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Abstract

Distributed Space Systems (DSS) are an emerging class of mission designs that enable new scientific and commercial opportunities. In order to enable those new opportunities, these systems will need to have significantly expanded autonomous capabilities compared to their single-spacecraft predecessors. In this paper, we present Distributed Spacecraft Autonomy (DSA) project, a payload on NASA’s Starling spacecraft experiment. We first describe a step-by-step process for characterizing what features are needed in an autonomous DSS, and show how this process applied to DSA. We then describe the Starling mission, a four-spacecraft swarm hosting multiple DSS payloads. We then describe DSA, which will mature in-space networking and autonomous planning technologies to measure topside ionosophere features using data from the Starling spacecraft’s GPS receivers. We describe how DSA will coordinate observations of GPS satellites using Starling’s underlying communications infrastructure combined with novel DSS technology. The flight validation of DSS technology will provide mature technology to enable future DSS missions.

Available for download on Saturday, August 07, 2021

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Aug 9th, 10:00 AM

Design and Testing of Autonomous Distributed Space Systems

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Distributed Space Systems (DSS) are an emerging class of mission designs that enable new scientific and commercial opportunities. In order to enable those new opportunities, these systems will need to have significantly expanded autonomous capabilities compared to their single-spacecraft predecessors. In this paper, we present Distributed Spacecraft Autonomy (DSA) project, a payload on NASA’s Starling spacecraft experiment. We first describe a step-by-step process for characterizing what features are needed in an autonomous DSS, and show how this process applied to DSA. We then describe the Starling mission, a four-spacecraft swarm hosting multiple DSS payloads. We then describe DSA, which will mature in-space networking and autonomous planning technologies to measure topside ionosophere features using data from the Starling spacecraft’s GPS receivers. We describe how DSA will coordinate observations of GPS satellites using Starling’s underlying communications infrastructure combined with novel DSS technology. The flight validation of DSS technology will provide mature technology to enable future DSS missions.