Human-Autonomy Teaming for Intelligent Distributed Satellite Operations


Project Leader: Prof Roberto Sabatini

PhD Student: Sam Hilton

Participants: RMIT, Northrop Grumman

To truly exploit the advantages of Distributed Satellite System (DSS) mission architectures, an evolution is required from the inflexible pre-planned approaches of traditional space operations to systems that are suited to reactive and resilient mission architectures. At its core, this requires the design and development of novel intelligent Mission Planning Systems (iMPS) that facilitate autonomous Goal-based Operations (GBO). From a technical standpoint, iMPS must facilitate the autonomous cooperation of DSS to optimally global systems goals within an uncertain, dynamic mission environment. From the human perspective, GBO marks a paradigm shift from a command sequence role to one of a supervisory nature, where system autonomy must be monitored and managed in near-real time.

This research explores the concept of supervisory control through the design and development of an human centric iMPS for autonomous GBO. This system will enable an operator to express their intentions in the form of system goals, project and visualize the effect of these intentions and provide intelligent mechanisms to curb autonomous system behaviour. System design and development will follow a Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) approach and verified through case studies that include bushfire detection and maritime surveillance while considering key dynamic mission aspects such as the availability and throughput of communication (e.g., inter-satellite laser links) systems.