Challenges and Lessons Learned in the Application of Autonomy to Space Operations

David J. Forrest and Joseph I. Statman

NASA’s Space Operations Management Office (SOMO) working toward a goal of providing an integrated infrastructure of mission and data services for space missions undertaken by NASA enterprises. A significant portion of this effort is focused on reducing the cost of these services. We are interested in the potential of autonomy to reduce operations costs. Some attempts have already been made to apply autonomy and automation in these areas in the past with varying degrees of success. We present brief case histories and the lessons inferred from them. Combining this past experience with anticipated future needs, we attempt to clarify the challenges that must be met in order to realize the benefits of autonomy.

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