Orbit Logic and MIT is researching onboard fault attribution solution for satellite systems. Air Force Research Laboratory has sponsored to Orbit Logic a Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) contract to develop the Satellite Onboard Fault Attribution and Response (SOFAR) solution. The Space Telecommunications, Astronomy and Radiation (STAR) Laboratory in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is their research collaborator.
SOFAR will attribute faults encountered in satellite systems to their possible causes. In many cases, clues embedded in telemetry data may be so sparse that no single explanation is possible to determine. In these situations, SOFAR will develop multiple hypotheses and the relative likelihood of each. These hypotheses can be delivered to the ground operations center to inform the operators, and can also be used by Orbit Logic’s onboard Autonomous Planning System (APS) to trigger/determine automated responses to mitigate the fault.
SOFAR will consume data from the hosting satellite bus, its sensors/payloads, and even remote sensors or platforms. Novel approaches developed by MIT will not just isolate the fault, but also attempt to identify its causation category, which can include: Space weather events; Application of physical or energetic effects to the platform; Failures, anomalies or degradation of the spacecraft’s hardware systems; Defects in the flight software that may emerge at unpredictable times or under unique conditions; or Cyber-attacks.
APS is a powerful technology that can be leveraged for autonomous planning in any domain. The breadth of its applications proves its flexibility; in addition to its use on this program for satellite fault management, Orbit Logic has utilized APS for the autonomous operation of heterogeneous constellations of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites1 with DARPA and AFRL, heterogeneous teams of unmanned underwater/surface/aerial vehicles (UUVs/USVs/UAVs) with the Navy2, heterogeneous swarms of rovers, satellites, and atmospheric vehicles for robotic Mars exploration3, heterogeneous robotic swarms with astronauts in-the-loop for Lunar exploration4 and mission-adaptive formation flying control of satellite clusters5, with NASA.
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