Emergent selected to be a DARPA System F6 prime contractor!

Emergent is providing systems engineering, algorithm design, flight software development, integration, and verification and validation for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) System F6 Program in the Cluster Flight Technical area. Emergent’s contract with DARPA is over a 2.5-year period of performance (6-month base plus two 1-year options). Under this contract, Emergent is providing cluster flight guidance, navigation, and control (GN&C) algorithms and software for spacecraft that utilize the System F6 fractionated space systems architecture. Our Cluster Flight solution will provide the GN&C flight software needed for collaborative, semi-autonomous navigation, orbit maintenance, and collision avoidance. F6 Logo

In the Base Period, Emergent was one of four teams selected to provide GN&C algorithms. Emergent was the only team selected to continue into the Option Period 1 to develop prototype flight software of the cluster flight algorithms. In addition, Emergent is providing the simulation development for system integration and test with the Wireless Inter-Module Communications and Information Architecture technical areas. The demonstration mission for System F6 is currently targeted to fly in 2015.



Emergent is designing and developing a service-based cluster flight software architecture that takes advantage of the fractionated nature of F6. We are also developing an innovative cluster control framework that is based on heuristic search methods and applied to compute optimal maneuvers for all F6 operational scenarios including station keeping, module ingress and egress, reconfiguration, scatter and re-gather. We are also developing flexible navigation software that utilizes measurements from GPS and relative measurements from the wireless communication system along with collision monitoring and avoidance capabilities. We are developing the cluster flight software through an agile software development process to provide reliable and efficient cluster flight services for System F6. We are also supporting the verification and validation of System F6 through the development of simulation components for the System Integration Lab that is evolving from a high-fidelity software-only test platform to a hardware-in-the-loop test bed.

Core capabilities present in this program include:

  • Flexible navigation using GPS and inter-module communications range
  • Carrier differential GPS
  • Universal maneuver planning using advanced heuristic search methods
  • Onboard collision prediction and avoidance
  • Optimum multi-burn orbit targeter
  • Cluster maintenance and control
  • Optimum scatter and cluster re-gather
  • Optimum ingress and egress maneuvers
  • Optimum reconfiguration maneuvers
  • Fault detection, isolation, and recovery
  • Flight software development
  • Real-time and faster than real-time high fidelity simulation development
  • Software-in-the-loop test bed
  • Hardware-in-the-loop test bed
  • Systems engineering
  • Systems integration
  • Verification and validation

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