Greenbelt, MD, United States

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Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 125.00K | Year: 2016

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.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.50M | Year: 2014

Multiple government and commercial organizations are currently exploring space missions involving several spacecraft operating in formations or clusters. Many of these systems involve gathering data from distributed sources to support mission objectives. This necessitates an inter-spacecraft communications architecture sufficient to pass data and commands across the system elements, as well as capability to process or operate on remote data. A significant simplification of this framework is achieved by enabling remote and/or collective data operations in a diverse multi-spacecraft system through an innovative, common software application set. The crux of this SBIR innovation is the common software application set that supports a diverse array of space vehicles and vehicle payloads. This software innovation facilitates disaggregation through data and computational resource sharing across disparate vehicles, enabling cluster/formation flight of spacecraft with vastly different capabilities and sizes. It creates a new mission class through the use of minimally-capable sensorcraft, a new, low-cost mission class that exploits computational resources from larger cluster spacecraft. This virtual connection with the larger spacecraft in the cluster allows the sensorcraft to be much more capable with lower size weight and power.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.93K | Year: 2013

Resources available through the System F6 cluster can greatly simplify a participating spacecraft"s design. Our proposal encompasses three innovations: (1) Common Application for Sensorcraft Missions (CASM), an application that will be installed on the System F6 cluster to manage the picosat/cluster interface; (2) Sensorcraft Application INTerface (SAInt), a common interface for connecting picosat sensors, imagers, and other representative payloads to the cluster capabilities via the System F6 communications link; and (3) F6 Common Application Pico Satellite (F6-CAPSat), a picosat with limited onboard capability that will demonstrate CASM and SAInt. CASM is a general application developed using the F6 Flight Development Kit standards that receives and routes ground commands and satellite data, operating on them or passing them to existing F6 functions as required to allow high-cost communications and data processing functions to be performed by the System F6 core cluster rather than the adjunct spacecraft. SAInt acts as a low-level data router on the adjunct spacecraft, minimizing required capability for the sensorcraft. F6-CAPSSat uses SAInt and CASM to access and exploit System F6 cluster resources -- namely ground communications and navigation capabilities -- and complete robust mission objectives that today require much larger and more complex satellites.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.93K | Year: 2013

ABSTRACT: A holistic RSO space situational awareness algorithm will be developed that integrates Finite Set Statistics (FISST) with Hiearchical Mixtures of Experts (HME) and Multiple Model Adaptive Estimation (MMAE). Advanced orbit determination filters such as Splitting Gaussian Mixture Unscented Kalman Filters will perform as banks of experts to test which RSO and environment models best fit space surveillance observation data that includes electro-optical and radar angles, range, OCS, and RCS. The FISST/HME/MMAE integrated algorithm will detect changes in RSO and environmental characteristics such as spacecraft size, reflectivity, and configuration or drag and solar radiation pressure. Avanced numerical integration techniques and GPU parallelization will ensure algorithm speed and robustness with the goal of maintaining a future space catalog approaching 100,000 objects. RSO Detection, Tracking, Identification, and Characterization will be improved by the integrated set of algorithms, while scarce Air Force space surveillance sensors will be optimally scheduled for maximum Space Situation Awareness for commercial entities, military commanders, and JSpOC operators. The integrated algorithms will have a rigorous math and physics base, will be posed in a uniform framework, and will accurately model uncertainty. BENEFIT: Improved detection, tracking, identification, and characterization of space objects using data fusion from multiple sensors. Optimal scheduling of Air Force space surveillance sensors including ground and space based electro-optical systems. More accurate ephemerides development leading to earlier prediction of potential conjunctions, requiring less propellant for avoidance maneuvers, and thus increasing commercial spacecraft operational lifetimes. Increased automation of JSpOC operations, combined with increased situation awareness for all space operators. Improved speed, accuracy, and robustness of all computational processes.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 748.10K | Year: 2013

ABSTRACT: The main objective of this task is to demonstrate that multiple systems with assorted architectures within the DoD can share data to better enable Warfighter Tasking. As opposed to manually transferring data products through high latency means like Microsoft PowerPoint or Word documents through email or file transfer protocol (FTP), which may require phone calls to operators and preparation time and then manual data entry into the application requiring the new information, data should be made available instantly 100% of the time when the proper security credentials are supplied. A Warfighter will make better informed decisions when more data is available to them in a timelier manner, which can significantly impact outcomes and the safety of our soldiers. The key technology that will enable enhanced Warfighter Tasking is a data format and protocol bridge service to connect the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) Mission System (JMS) with the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) Mission Services Interface (MSI), and potentially other platforms in the future. JMS employs a service-oriented architecture (SOA) that leverages web services and ORS employs the NASA GMSEC messaging architecture. BENEFIT: There are several benefits to be gained by developing a GMSEC-JMS bridge, which include: 1. Improved Warfighter tasking due to the availability of additional information (i.e. cloud cover, satellite positions, Intel, etc.) 2. Enabler for real-time flow of satellite information from the 50SW to JSpOC, as the 50SW is also looking at adopting GMSEC 3. Real-time awareness of ORS and JSpOC assets between both organizations 4. Ability to more rapidly interface with other DoD organizations 5. Enhanced readiness to adopt future technologies At the completion of Phase III, Emergent will be able to provide a fully operational software product that could be deployed to multiple DoD government organizations, such as the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). The initial customers for the MBS will be the JMS and ORS so data can be shared among the two different architectures. Emergent has also participated in demonstrations in the SMC-SN Compatible C2 Test Bed managed by The Aerospace Corporation in Chantilly, VA. The target customer for this demonstration could have an interest receiving information from the JMS or another GMSEC control center.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 125.00K | Year: 2013

Emergent Space Technologies proposes to develop a flexible, service-oriented Fault Management (FM) architecture for cluster fight missions. This FM architecture will include algorithms to be run on each cluster module for fault detection, isolation, and recovery, software to be used at a ground station to direct recovery actions, and protocols for communication of fault information between cluster modules and between modules and the ground station. Individual components of the architecture will be designed so that they do not work together directly, but interact through predetermined interfaces. This will allow for flexibility, scalability and robustness. During Phase 1 of the proposed research, the focus of the research will be a fault detection and isolation system to be incorporated into the FM architecture.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 832.49K | Year: 2014

ABSTRACT: The U.S. Air Force is tasked with detecting, tracking, identifying, characterizing, and cataloguing RSOs. This is currently done using a disparate network of sensors that are shared with other missions. The increasing number of objects and scarcity of sensors makes the task of identifying and discriminating RSOs even more challenging. The ultimate goal of this project is to provide the Air Force with algorithms capable of processing and fusing space surveillance data with improved abilities to detect, track, identify, and characterize resident space objects (RSOs). Emergent Space Technologies, Inc. has teamed with the University of Colorado Boulder and The University of Texas at Austin to research and develop algorithms to address these needs and improve the AFs capability to detect, track, identify, characterize and catalog RSOs. Our long-term goal is to provide an integrated tool suite that can be used in the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) Mission System (JMS). BENEFIT: The primary goal of our commercialization plan is to incorporate our SSA algorithms into products that the DoD can use in the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) Mission System (JMS) to determine RSO capabilities and intentions by estimating their important characteristics, features, and behaviors.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.95K | Year: 2014

In the near future we will see the development of space mission architectures where multiple spacecraft work cooperatively as a cluster to achieve mission objectives. Fault management (FM) is a critical challenge that must be addressed, especially when multiple spacecraft are working in proximity. Automatic fault management reduces the effort required by the ground crew when faults occur, and it reduces the chance of collision by quickly recovering from faults. We are developing a Flexible Fault Manager for Distributed Systems (FFMDS) for these missions. FFMDS is a FM architecture that will include algorithms to be run on each cluster module for fault detection, isolation, and recovery; software to be used at a ground station to direct recovery actions; and protocols for communication of fault information between cluster modules and between modules and the ground station. The architecture is service-oriented, so that algorithms for fault detection, isolation, and recovery can be added to or subtracted from the system as appropriate.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.82K | Year: 2015

Today's mission designers rely on state of the art tools with modern GUI elements and real-time 3D interactive graphics to visualize their trajectories and orbit control strategies. One such tool, NASA GSFC's General Mission Analysis Tool (GMAT), offers advanced mission design and optimization capabilities with a flexible GUI. However, its current 3D graphics are lacking in both the quantity and quality of graphical components as well as the maturity of its visualization architecture. Fortunately, GMAT's underlying flexible and Open Source software architecture was designed to facilitate modular improvements. We propose to provide GMAT with world-class visualization capabilities and a graphics architecture that can adapt to future visualization technologies by replacing the existing basic graphics code with the OpenFrames visualization software. OpenFrames is an Open Source API that allows simulations to incorporate high-performance interactive 3D visualizations without requiring significant architecture changes. In this research, we develop comprehensive requirements for GMAT's visualization needs, create a plan to integrate OpenFrames into GMAT, demonstrate a prototype of OpenFrames in GMAT, and compare the performance of OpenFrames to the existing basic visualizations in GMAT. This research will not only bring GMAT visualizations up to par with other mission design tools, such as AGI's STK/Astrogator and NASA JSC's Copernicus, but will also allow GMAT to support cutting-edge technologies such as interactive visual trajectory design and virtual reality environments such as the GSFC CAVE. In turn, this will increase GMAT's user base and increase its utility for future NASA missions, such as Decadal Survey and Discovery class missions that require high-fidelity simulations paired with truly interactive 3D visualizations.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.94K | Year: 2016

Today's mission designers rely on state of the art tools with modern graphical user interface (GUI) elements and real-time 3D interactive graphics to visualize their trajectories and orbit control strategies. NASA GSFC's General Mission Analysis Tool (GMAT) offers advanced mission design and optimization capabilities with a flexible GUI, but its 3D graphics are lacking in both the quantity and quality of its graphical components as well as the maturity of its visualization subsystem. Emergent will therefore modernize GMAT with world-class visualization capabilities via a graphics architecture that can adapt to future visualization technologies by replacing the existing basic graphics code with the OpenFrames visualization software. OpenFrames is an Open Source API that allows simulations to incorporate high-performance interactive 3D visualizations without requiring significant changes to the existing software architecture. We will utilize the mission design visualization requirements developed in Phase I to fully integrate OpenFrames into GMAT and demonstrate how it enables new and innovative mission design applications such as visual interactive trajectory design and Virtual Reality-based simulation and modeling. As a result, this research will not only bring GMAT visualizations up to par with COTS mission design tools such as STK/Astrogator, but will also enable it to be viable for use in virtual reality environments such as the Oculus Rift. Modernized visualization technology will increase GMAT's user base and enhance its utility for future NASA Discovery and Human Space Flight missions that require high-fidelity simulations paired with truly interactive 3D visualizations.

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