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Automating Trend Analysis for Spacecraft ConstellationsSpacecraft trend analysis is a vital mission operations function performed by satellite controllers and engineers, who perform detailed analyses of engineering telemetry data to diagnose subsystem faults and to detect trends that may potentially lead to degraded subsystem performance or failure in the future. It is this latter function that is of greatest importance, for careful trending can often predict or detect events that may lead to a spacecraft's entry into safe-hold. Early prediction and detection of such events could result in the avoidance of, or rapid return to service from, spacecraft safing, which not only results in reduced recovery costs but also in a higher overall level of service for the satellite system. Contemporary spacecraft trending activities are manually intensive and are primarily performed diagnostically after a fault occurs, rather than proactively to predict its occurrence. They also tend to rely on information systems and software that are oudated when compared to current technologies. When coupled with the fact that flight operations teams often have limited resources, proactive trending opportunities are limited, and detailed trend analysis is often reserved for critical responses to safe holds or other on-orbit events such as maneuvers. While the contemporary trend analysis approach has sufficed for current single-spacecraft operations, it will be unfeasible for NASA's planned and proposed space science constellations. Missions such as the Dynamics, Reconnection and Configuration Observatory (DRACO), for example, are planning to launch as many as 100 'nanospacecraft' to form a homogenous constellation. A simple extrapolation of resources and manpower based on single-spacecraft operations suggests that trending for such a large spacecraft fleet will be unmanageable, unwieldy, and cost-prohibitive. It is therefore imperative that an approach to automating the spacecraft trend analysis function be studied, developed, and applied to missions such as DRACO with the intent that mission operations costs be significantly reduced. The goal of the Constellation Spacecraft Trend Analysis Toolkit (CSTAT) project is to serve as the pathfinder for a fully automated trending system to support spacecraft constellations. The development approach to be taken is evolutionary. In the first year of the project, the intent is to significantly advance the state of the art in current trending systems through improved functionality and increased automation. In the second year, the intent is to add an expert system shell, likely through the adaptation of an existing commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) or government-off-the-shelf (GOTS) tool to implement some level of the trending intelligence that humans currently provide in manual operations. In the third year, the intent is to infuse the resulting technology into a near-term constellation or formation-flying mission to test it and gain experience in automated trending. The lessons learned from the real missions operations experience will then be used to improve the system, and to ultimately incorporate it into a fully autonomous, closed-loop mission operations system that is truly capable of supporting large constellations. In this paper, the process of automating trend analysis for spacecraft constellations will be addressed. First, the results of a survey on automation in spacecraft mission operations in general, and in trending systems in particular will be presented to provide an overview of the current state of the art. Next, a rule-based model for implementing intelligent spacecraft subsystem trending will be then presented, followed by a survey of existing COTS/GOTS tools that could be adapted for implementing such a model. The baseline design and architecture of the CSTAT system will be presented. Finally, some results obtained from initial software tests and demonstrations will be presented.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Davis, George (Commerce One, Inc. United States)
Cooter, Miranda (Commerce One, Inc. United States)
Updike, Clark (Commerce One, Inc. United States)
Carey, Everett (Commerce One, Inc. United States)
Mackey, Jennifer (Commerce One, Inc. United States)
Rykowski, Timothy (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Albuquerque, NM United States)
Powers, Edward I.
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2001
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing and Performance
Meeting Information
AI, Robotics and Automation in Space(Montreal)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.