Most satellite contact scheduling programs use deconfliction algorithms to optimize access and use of earth stations. These contact schedules are developed without an awareness of customer mission objectives and often require arduous human-in-the-loop iteration to ensure the resulting contact schedule also supports mission objectives. ATLAS has demonstrated the capability of an algorithmic solution to develop satellite ground station contact schedules designed to optimize around a customer’s goals. This capability offers substantial savings in man hours over the use of current scheduling systems which simply deconflict satellite contacts from interfering with one another but do not necessarily resolve solutions optimized to meet a customer’s mission goals. A cognitive constellation management scheduler is made aware of the customers goals and seeks to produce and select the ground station contact schedule that best satisfies a customer’s goals among all possible/feasible schedules. This exciting capability will be further developed into a stand-alone prototype cognitive constellation management scheduler as a precursor to an operational capability. This prototype will enable:
System Wide Load Balancing: Define clear goals and allow the customer to adjust their importance, generates task requests, and feed them into the lower lever Flex Scheduler
Time Reduction: Abstract the management into a simple to understand set of goals that the customer can adjust on a day to day basis.
Rapid Re-Scheduling via Machine to Machine: Define a concise, cloud hosted, API that allows the submission of external data such as spacecraft state parameters and event queuing information and alerts.
NASA can benefit from a Cognitive Constellation Management scheduling solution from efficiencies gained through the reduction in manpower to produce satellite contact schedules. NASA can utilize the cognitive scheduler on existing and future satellite constellations to optimize contact schedules around mission objectives and utilize machine-to-machine communication to rapidly modify contact schedules when there is a need to respond to emergent events/triggers in dynamic environments.
It will soon become impossible to keep up with demand as data and satellite contacts increase in volume, particularly with “mega” constellations. Satellite operations must transition to a cognitive and machine-to-machine approach. A cognitive scheduler enables non-NASA operators to efficiently increase the scale and complexity of their systems without a commensurate growth in human resources.