NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 06-2 X2.02-9743
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Spacecraft Autonomy
PROPOSAL TITLE: A Data Abstraction Architecture for Spacecraft Autonomy

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Traclabs, Inc.
8610 N. New Braunfels, Suite 110
San Antonio, TX 78217 - 2356
(210) 822-2310

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
David Kortenkamp
1012 Hercules
Houston, TX 77058 - 0000
(281) 461-7884

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The new Constellation vehicles, habitats and robots will be highly sensored and generate large amounts of data. For this data to be useful to humans monitoring these systems and to automated algorithms controlling these systems it will need to be converted into more abstract data. This abstracted data will reflect the trends and characteristics of the systems and their environments. Currently this data abstraction process is manual and ad hoc. It is manual in the sense that either humans do the abstraction in their heads or the data abstraction is done by hand-coding computer programs for each data item. It is ad hoc in the sense that each data abstraction is developed on its own with no representation of how it relates to the tasks being performed or to other data abstractions. In this project we propose building a Data Abstraction Architecture (DAA) that allows engineers to design software processes that iteratively convert spacecraft data into higher and higher levels of abstraction. The DAA also formalizes the relationships between data and control and the relationships between the data themselves. The DAA consists of representations for data and data abstractions, a data store, a abstraction architecture processing engine and a development environment. We will evaluate the architecture using three NASA domains: 1) a lunar outpost monitoring and control application; 2) a robotic scientific survey application; and 3) a vehicle procedure execution scenario.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
he Department of Defense (DOD) is the primary non-NASA commercialization customer. Unmanned vehicles, both air, ground and underwater, are becoming more and more common in battlefield situations. Future Combat Systems (FCS) envision manned and unmanned vehicles of all sizes working side-by-side. In addition, Congress has mandated that one-third of all military vehicles must be unmanned by 2015. Unmanned air vehicles patrol the borders in Iraq and provide intelligence to support ground operations. Current vehicles require multiple crew members to fly each mission. Often missions cannot be performed because there are not enough trained crews. Software that can allow one person (or a ground commander) to obtain information directly from several vehicles in an integrated fashion would provide a significant return on investment. Our software will help reduce the operator burden and increase productivity and mission success. Civilian uses of unmanned vehicles are expanding rapidly. The recently announced immigration reform bill authorizes unmanned air vehicles to patrol the US borders. Commercial companies might also use unmanned vehicles to fight forest fires, patrol large installations, track wildlife or take pictures. We expect that commercial applications of our software will mature as unmanned vehicles become more prevalent over the next decade.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
With NASA investing many billions of dollars in the first new spacecraft in thirty years, there will be many opportunities for advanced information technology. We will target the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) prime contractor (Lockheed Martin) or one of their subcontractors (e.g., Honeywell) as partners. We will also target NASA Mission Operations Directorate ( MOD) and United Space Alliance (USA) as a customer for data abstraction in ground operations. In addition, NASA's robotic missions and uncrewed space vehicles are also potential customers. NASA commercialization will focus on two areas. First, human monitoring of space system (e.g., mission control). In this case, the DAA is being used to provide human operators with abstracted data about the system to support their decisions. The operators could easily create new DAAs for specific tasks that they have. The second NASA application is as a companion to spacecraft and robotic automation. Most automation software requires abstracted data in order to operate. This project will allow data abstractions to be created outside of the control software and connected via the data store. Control engineers would specify what data they needed for their control tasks and a DAA would be built to supply that data. We estimate we will have five NASA customers within five years of the end of Phase II.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Autonomous Control and Monitoring
Autonomous Reasoning/Artificial Intelligence
Database Development and Interfacing
Human-Computer Interfaces
Software Development Environments

Form Generated on 08-02-07 14:39