In exploring the fundamental issues related to the deployment of more autonomous spacecrafts, there are several categories that drive the level of autonomy: The examples given are by no means meant to be an exhaustive list but rather to provide a context in which spacecraft autonomy makes sense in light of the overall mission, and becomes an essential part of the mission, rather than simply a technology demonstration or experiment.
In addition to the direction of these primary space organizations, other mission requirements are also driving the need for increased autonomy onboard spacecrafts including such things as the need for robotic explorers to deal with uncertainty in their environments, and increasing the potential of the science return on missions such as planet or asteroid fly-bys.
On the other side of the spectrum, mission constraints such as limited bandwidth or intermittent communications between the spacecraft and ground controllers, and limited funding for mission operations, especially for long-term missions, are also increasing the need for more autonomous spacecrafts.
SCL has continued to evolve since its initial development and has since flown on several missions including BMDOs Clementine mission, and John Hopkins Universitys Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) mission.
In January of 1994, the BMDO launched the Clementine spacecraft.
Driven by the mission requirements associated with the deployment of more sophisticated spacecrafts, satellite constellations, and robotic explorers, the need for increased autonomy onboard the spacecraft is becoming essential.
The Autonomous Operations Scheduling (AOS) experiment executed during lunar orbit 303, in which control of the Clementine spacecraft was turned over completely to the onboard flight software, which successfully completed the operations required for this orbit.of this paper proposes extensions to these accomplishments to date, that would increase the overall reliability of flight software architectures and provide an approach for systematically inserting this software technology into the mainstream of spacecraft development, integration and test, and operations.