The Autopilot application suite provides for semi-autonomous clustered spacecraft guidance and control. Autopilot is comprised of a Cluster Flight Manager, Orbit Maintenance Service, Maneuver Planning Service, and Module Maneuvering Service applications: spacecraft orbit safely together - whether flying in formation or merely in proximity, provides services that individual spacecraft cannot accomplish on their own, integrates with existing mission technology, such as command and data handling, and scheduled for a manifested mission in 2021.
Maintains an inventory of members with their states, control modes, and target geometry. Schedules periodic activities in a sequence. Able to change compute nodes for efficient and robust operation.
Closes the guidance and navigation loop to enable station keeping and geometry reconfiguration. Monitors members with appropriate control modes. Maintains safe flight by predicting collisions.
Solves maneuver plans that coordinate multiple members. Flexible algorithm optimizes maneuvers for all orbit scenarios in a mission. Validates constraints in a high fidelity environment.
Cluster Flight Manager
The Cluster Flight Manager gets the latest navigational information, and at predefined intervals, requests the Orbit Maintenance Service to monitor the cluster. The Cluster Flight Manager is also capable of responding to several fault scenarios autonomously to maintain cluster safety.
Orbit Maintenance Service
The Orbit Maintenance Service receives requests from the Cluster Flight Manager to perform an analysis to determine if new maneuver plans are necessary. New maneuver plans could be triggered due to nominal orbit maintenance, request for a new orbit, probability of collision between two or more objects, and potential fault response.
Maneuver Planning Service
The Maneuver Planning Service is responsible for creating maneuver plans to achieve the prescribed orbital changes upon request from the Orbit Maintenance Service. The Maneuver Planning Service translates to the problem space and then utilizes a simulated annealing optimizer generate and orbit solution.
Module Maneuvering Service
The Module Maneuvering Service receives maneuver plans from the Cluster Flight Manager to transmitted to the space vehicle as commands. The Module Maneuvering Service will also monitor the vehicle maneuver status to be reported back to the Cluster Flight Manager.