KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. – U.S. Air Force researchers are asking industry to develop new kinds of human-machine interfaces to enable machine autonomy in reconnaissance satellite control that could enhance global surveillance capabilities.
Officials of the Space Control Technology Branch of the air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., released a solicitation (FA9453-21-S-0001) on Wednesday for the Space Technology Advanced Research - Fast-tracking Innovative Software and Hardware (STAR-FISH) project.
The solicitation involves call four of the STAR-FISH project -- Human to Machine Interface for Autonomous Satellite Systems -- which seeks to enable seamless and agile human-machine interaction by establishing trust among satellite operators, and to boost satellite autonomy capabilities with advanced human-machine interface technology.
Air Force researchers seek to collaborate with industry to develop and integrate game-changing space capabilities by developing a new human-machine interface for autonomous satellite systems.
This collaboration is expected to enable the U.S. Air and Space forces to optimize machine autonomy and decision support with new features in advanced human-machine interfaces for satellite control.
Researchers are asking industry to submit white papers that outline human-machine interface concepts for autonomous satellite systems, as well as ways to modify existing satellite autonomy and control technologies.
As an example, researchers could set up one or more satellites in test beds to perform an inspection or docking orbit around another cooperative satellite. The system is envisioned to have three controllers: a primary automatic or autonomous controller; a backup controller provided through a run time assurance wrapper; and a human operator.
In addition to these automatic controllers, the human operator will be able to override with a scripted command. The run time assurance watches the primary controller and scripted controller, and intervenes with a backup control when it detects a need to intervene to prevent satellite collisions and maintain satellite camera pointing restrictions.
This training scenario will help scope the prototype human-machine interface work for this contract to create an intuitive human-machine interface that facilitates understanding and projection of the autonomous controller while making the most the directability and shared awareness among the human operator and the satellite autonomy capability.
Industry white papers must describe the overall approach for developing a human-machine interface for an autonomous satellite; and software issues such as virtualized or containerized software using an industry-standard virtualization or containerization technology such as Docker.
Those submitting promising white papers will be invited to submit formal proposals. Companies interested should upload white papers no later than 9 May 2022 to DoD Safe online at https://safe.apps.mil.
Email contract specialist Avion Lourde at [email protected] at least three days before uploading to get a DoD Safe drop-off request.
More information is online at https://sam.gov/opp/87dd122fc73e415d8f9c23682177bfc1/view.