NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 171 H6.03-9534
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Spacecraft Autonomous Agent Cognitive Architectures for Human Exploration
PROPOSAL TITLE: A Flexible Cognitive Architecture for Space Exploration Agents

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
TRACLabs, Inc.
100 North East Loop 410, Suite 520
San Antonio, TX 78216 - 1234
(281) 461-7886

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Russell Bonasso
100 North East Loop 410, Suite 520
San Antonio, TX 78216 - 1234
(281) 461-7886 Extension :708

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
David Kortenkamp
100 North East Loop 410, Suite 520
San Antonio, TX 78216 - 1234
(281) 486-7886 Extension :704

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Spacecraft Autonomous Agent Cognitive Architectures for Human Exploration is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
In space operations, carrying out the activities of mission plans by executing procedures often requires close collaboration between ground controllers who have deep knowledge of the spacecraft's systems and crewmembers who have on-board situation awareness. Because of the light distances involved, this close collaboration will not be practical for inter-planetary exploration. This proposal seeks to develop a software cognitive architecture for space exploration (CASE) that will autonomously carry out exploration operations by using the same knowledge and executing the same plans and procedures as those developed on Earth. Over the past several years, TRACLabs, in support of NASA and other government agencies, has developed a number of components that can be used in such an architecture, and now proposes to design an exploration agent based on that architecture and to show that it is feasible for use in space exploration. These components include a procedure development system known as PRIDE that allows for variably autonomous execution of both crew and robotic procedures, an automated planner that plans and re-plans the execution of procedures to achieve overall mission goals, and an ontology data management system that makes system states available to all the components. In this work we will develop two new but vital elements for the architecture: a process manager that will manage the use of distributed computing resources to support the CASE components, and a natural language dialog system to allow the crew access to any part of the architecture. CASE will provide a feasible approach to agent design for space exploration, provide on-board autonomy in nominal operations and human-computer solutions for off-nominal operations, allow for the interchange of components from external sources and be robust in the face of computational failures.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
After Phase II the CASE components or the architecture as a whole will be available to be reworked for exploration systems development and testing. While there may not be a planetary base in the near future, Orion and other spacecraft that will combine life support systems and EVA operations can benefit by using an autonomous or semi-autonomous CASE agent. An excellent example is the "Proving Ground" phase asteroid redirect mission (ARM), which will involve EVAs to obtain samples from captured asteroids. A CASE agent could also be used on the ISS to support testing of life support and the SSRMS in an exploration scenarios as precursors to future exploration missions. In the past, at Johnson Space Center (JSC) we have worked with EVA personnel and flight directors in migrating PRIDE and planning technologies into mission control. These are the same people working on EVAs for the potential ARM as well as planetary base operations. We plan to speak with our contacts in the MCC to exploring ways to minimize the number of personnel working the flight control stations using the technologies in this work. This work will also provide a connection to automated planning technology development through NASA ARC's Automation for Operations (A4O) project and its successors. We will work closely with Dr. Jeremy Frank at NASA ARC during Phase 1 to ensure our relevance to the A4O projects.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
TRACLabs is already selling PRIDE as a commercial product to oil field services companies and is providing automation assistance to other companies for drilling operations. The companies involved have already expressed interest in licensing the new capabilities being developed in this project. We will work with them to make sure that this project meets their requirements. TRACLabs expects additional customers in the oil and gas industry will deploy PRIDE once it has been proven effective. Sierra Nevada Corporation has also purchased PRIDE licenses for use in their Dream Chaser program, which was recently selected to deliver cargo to ISS. In all of these cases, we will offer the features developed this proposal as an "add-o" to the existing PRIDE software we deliver. Thus, we can immediately move this research out into industry by leveraging our existing PRIDE user base.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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.)
Algorithms/Control Software & Systems (see also Autonomous Systems)
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Knowledge Management
Man-Machine Interaction
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)
Sequencing & Scheduling
Simulation & Modeling

Form Generated on 04-19-17 12:59