FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
U.S. AIR FORCE AWARDS CONTRACT TO STOTTLER HENKE TO DEVELOP
INTELLIGENT SCHEDULING SOFTWARE FOR NEXT-GENERATION SATELLITE CLUSTERS
to increase effective utilization of Air Force’s space-based assets
SAN MATEO, CA, Aug. 1, 2001 — Stottler Henke Associates, Inc. today announced the award of a two-year $750,000 Phase II contract with the U.S. Air Force to develop intelligent planning and scheduling software to manage next generation satellite clusters.
For some of these applications, notably remote sensing of the Earth or deep space, replacement of individual satellites by clusters of close flying small satellites is expected to have the advantages of having lower life-cycle cost, better performance, more adaptability to changing mission goals, and less susceptibility to the loss of individual satellites. Currently no such satellite clusters are flying, though the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, for example, is considering for its TechSat 21 program to set up a constellation of 35 low-orbit “virtual” satellites (plus 5 spares), in which each virtual satellite would in practice be a cluster of 8 “micro” satellites flying within 250 meters of each other.
Autonomous, distributed onboard management of the satellites and their payloads would reduce an almost impossible demand on ground-based resources to keep satellites in a cluster working reliably in concert to achieve their mission goals.
Stottler Henke has initiated an innovative project on behalf of the U.S. Air Force to thoroughly understand the design requirements for a management system to control satellites within a cluster, and clusters within a constellation; to design an agent-based software architecture based on these requirements; and to prove the feasibility of its approach through the development of prototype software. Agent technology is expected to provide the best approach for controlling physically distributed resources such as satellites, to deal with such events as the insertion and removal of satellites from a cluster, and anomalous behavior by individual satellites. Multiple agents working together will demonstrate emergent behavior, which will need to be tested by role-playing to ensure that it is the desired behavior.
Founded in 1988, Stottler Henke Associates, Inc. applies artificial intelligence and other advanced software technologies to solve problems that defy solution using traditional approaches. The company delivers intelligent software solutions for education and training, planning and scheduling, knowledge management and discovery, decision support, and software development. Stottler Henke’s clients include manufacturers, retailers, educational media companies and government agencies. Web: https://stottlerhenke.com/.