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Generic procedure for designing and implementing plan management systems for space science missions operations

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/09/2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Advances in Space Research
Issue number5
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)955-970
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper is one of the components of a larger framework of activities whose purpose is to improve the performance and productivity of space mission systems, i.e. to increase both what can be achieved and the cost effectiveness of this achievement. Some of these activities introduced the concept of Functional Architecture Module (FAM); FAMs are basic blocks used to build the functional architecture of Plan Management Systems (PMS). They also highlighted the need to involve Science Operations Planning Expertise (SOPE) during the Mission Design Phase (MDP) in order to design and implement efficiently operation planning systems. We define SOPE as the expertise held by people who have both theoretical and practical experience in Operations planning, in general, and in space science operations planning in particular. Using ESA's methodology for studying and selecting science missions we also define the MDP as the combination of the Mission Assessment and Mission Definition Phases. However, there is no generic procedure on how to use FAMs efficiently and systematically, for each new mission, in order to analyse the cost and feasibility of new missions as well as to optimise the functional design of new PMS; the purpose of such a procedure is to build more rapidly and cheaply such PMS as well as to make the latter more reliable and cheaper to run. This is why the purpose of this paper is to provide an embryo of such a generic procedure and to show that the latter needs to be applied by people with SOPE during the MDP. The procedure described here proposes some initial guidelines to identify both the various possible high level functional scenarii, for a given set of possible requirements, and the information that needs to be associated with each scenario. It also introduces the concept of catalogue of generic functional scenarii of PMS for space science missions. The information associated with each catalogued scenarii will have been identified by the above procedure and will be relevant only for some specific mission requirements. In other words, each mission that shares the same type of requirements that lead to a list of specific catalogued scenarii can use this latter list of scenarii (regardless of whether the mission is a plasma, planetary, astronomy, etc. mission). The main advantages of such a catalogue are that it speeds-up the execution of the procedure and makes the latter more reliable. Ultimately, the information associated to each relevant scenario (from the catalogue or freshly generated by the procedure) will then be used by mission designers to make informed decisions, including the modification of the mission requirements, for any missions. In addition, to illustrate the use of such a procedure, the latter is applied to a case study, i.e. the Cross-Scale mission. One of the outcomes of this study is an initial set of generic functional scenarii. Finally, although border line with the above purpose of this paper, we also discuss multi-spacecraft specific issues and issues related to the on-board execution of the plan update system (PUS). In particular, we show that the operation planning cost of N spacecraft is not equal to N times the cost of 1 spacecraft and that on-board non-synchronised operation will not require inter-spacecraft communication. We also believe that on-board PUS should be made possible for all missions as a standard. (C) 2011 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.