ATLAS Space Operations has been selected by NASA for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II award to further the development of an algorithmic solution to develop satellite ground station contact schedules designed to optimize ground station antenna usage around a customer’s mission requirements.
ATLAS’ intent is to provide this unique ability to satellite communications ground antenna owners, enabling automated analysis of a mission’s requirements and providing intelligent satellite communications schedules on a lights-out basis.
NASA has asked ATLAS to develop a Machine-to-Machine M2M scheduler that defines clear customer goals and allows the customer to prioritize their communications tasks. These goals populate in the Freedom Scheduler, which will compare the tiered tasks and the ground-side availability to automatically produce an optimized pass schedule for the customer to use for their mission. In accomplishing this, ATLAS addresses system-wide load balancing, acceleration of data pipelines, and scheduling management — all in one package.
This new system creates a customer-focused and optimized solution, shortening what would otherwise take days or weeks with the manual process of current scheduling systems. This transforms the scheduling process into a seamless, customer-centric approach. The result is a substantial cost reduction for customers.
Through ATLAS’ API, commercial and government customers will be able to access and adjust their mission goals on a day-to-day basis or with machine-to-machine exchange of spacecraft or mission status. ATLAS will refine this capability into a stand-alone prototype cognitive constellation management scheduler as a precursor to an operational capability. This prototype will enable 3 key operational items:
- System Wide Load Balancing – Define clear goals and allow the customer to adjust their importance, generate task requests, and feed them into the lower lever Flex Scheduler.
- Time Reduction – Abstract the management into a simple to understand set of goals that the customer can adjust on a day to day basis.
- Rapid Re-Scheduling via Machine to Machine (M2M) – Define a concise, cloud hosted, API that allows the submission of external data such as spacecraft state parameters and event queuing information and alerts.
The contract is part of the NASA SBIR program’s annual investment in U.S. small businesses with promising new technologies whose benefits are strongly aligned with NASA’s future goals. ATLAS was one of 124 small businesses from 31 states selected in the Phase II awards – which cumulatively provides $104 million to advance new technologies.
“We are thrilled to have been awarded the SBIR Phase 2 contract,” said ATLAS CTO and Co-Founder, Brad Bode. “As mega-constellations become more prevalent in space, this tool will not only allow us to scale with our customers, but provide critical mission support and savings to both commercial and government satellite operators.”