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Opportunity at Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

Data Fusion, Reasoning, Decision-Making, and Verification/Validation Approaches for Autonomous Spacecraft


Space Vehicles Directorate, RV/Space and Planetary Sciences

RO# Location
13.40.01.B7443 Kirtland Air Force Base, NM 871175776


Name E-mail Phone
Erwin, Richard Scott 505.846.9816


The ability of spacecraft to implement high-level reasoning and decision-making approaches is a key to achieving several Air Force capability goals for future space systems. Benefits of on-board autonomy for spacecraft include reduced manpower requirements for mission operations, allows greater span of control for human operators and decision makers, and enables spacecraft to accomplish missions and respond to changing conditions that are unachievable under ground control due to communication link unavailability or latency. There are a number of technical hurdles that must be overcome before on-board algorithms will be allowed to control flight- and safety-critical functions on operational spacecraft, including analytic guarantees for the embedded control and reasoning systems used in flight software, and the ability to use systematic and rigorous verification and validation techniques that reduce the probability of undesired system behavior due to emergent behavior or implementation errors beyond what can be achieved using brute-force simulation approaches (e.g., Monte-Carlo testing). This research seeks to develop new approaches for provably correct reasoning and decision-making algorithms (suitable for direct software implementation), the development and application of rigorous approaches for error detection and/or constraint-violating behavior of non-proven algorithms and software, as well as the application of these methodologies to spacecraft autonomy applications of interest. The project will involve cross-disciplinary research in mathematics, systems and control theory, computer science, and software engineering.



Wongpiromsarn T, Topcu U, Murray RM: AAAI Spring Symposium on Embedded Reasoning (March 22-24, 2010, Stanford), August 11, 2010


Space; Autonomy; Decision; Estimation; Data fusion; Reasoning; Verification; Validation; Uncertainty; Correctness;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral and Senior applicants
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