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- The planning and scheduling of human space activities is an expensive and time-consuming task that seldom provides the crew with the control, flexibility, or insight that they need. During the past thirty years, scheduling software has seen only incremental improvements; however, software limitations continue to prevent even evolutionary improvements in the operations concept that is used for human space missions. Space missions are planned on the ground long before they are executed in space, and the crew has little input or influence on the schedule. In recent years the crew has been presented with a job jar of activities that they can do whenever they have time, but the contents of the jar is limited to tasks that do not use scarce shared resources and do not have external timing constraints. Consequently, the crew has no control over the schedule of the majority of their own tasks. As humans venture farther from earth for longer durations, it will become imperative that they have the ability to plan and schedule not only their own activities, but also the unattended activities of the systems, equipment, and robots on the journey with them. Significant software breakthroughs are required to enable the change in the operations concept. The crew does not have the time to build or modify the schedule by hand. They only need to issue a request to schedule a task and the system should automatically do the rest. Of course, the crew should not be required to build the complete schedule. Controllers on the ground should contribute the models and schedules where they have the better knowledge. The system must allow multiple simultaneous users, some on earth and some in space. The Mission Operations Laboratory at NASA's Marshall Space flight Center has been researching and prototyping a modeling schema, scheduling engine, and system architecture that can enable the needed paradigm shift - it can make the crew autonomous. This schema and engine can be the core of a planning and scheduling system that would enable multiple planners, some on the earth and some in space, to build one integrated timeline. Its modeling schema can capture all the task requirements; its scheduling engine can build the schedule automatically, and its architecture can allow those (on earth and in space) with the best knowledge of the tasks to schedule them. This paper describes the enabling technology and proposes an operations concept for astronauts autonomously scheduling their activities and the activities around them.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20050092306.
Space Technology and Applications International Forum; 13-17 Feb. 2005; Albuquerque, NM; United States.
- No Copyright.
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