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Center Independent Research & Development: GSFC IRAD

Distributed Spacecraft Mission (DSM) Design Reference Framework and Testbed for Intelligent and Collaborative Constellations (ICC) (DSM-C)

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Under a changing technological and economic environment, there is growing interest in implementing future NASA missions as Distributed Spacecraft Missions (DSM), particularly as constellations of CubeSats, MicroSats and MiniSats for Earth science, heliophysics, plametary and astrophysics missions. A "Distributed Spacecraft Mission (DSM)" is a mission that involves multiple spacecraft to achieve one or more common goals.

A constellation is the most general form of DSM, with two or more spacecraft placed into specific orbit(s) for the purpose of serving a common objective (e.g., THEMIS, TROPICS and CYGNSS). A specific type of constellation is an Intelligent and Collaborative Constellation (ICC), that involves the combination of real-time data understanding, situational awareness, problem solving, planning and learning from experience, combined with communications and cooperation between multiple spacecraft in order to take full advantage of various sensors distributed on multiple platforms. For this activity, we define a Design Reference Framework for the ICC class of DSM for which requirements can be derived and used to focus technology development. The objective of this activity is to make marked and demonstrable progress in developing and/or maturing the technologies that will be necessary to design, develop, launch and operate DSMs, particularly ICCs.

In this project, we will build an end-to-end DSM-ICC framework and testbed, facilitating the integration of multiple technologies, including software and hardware subsystems and some developed in the area of communications and GN&C. 

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