NASA has identified Autonomous Logistics Management as a pressing challenge of human spaceflight. Autonomous logistics management (ALM) technologies provide for the integrated localization, transfer, and status of logistics and mission hardware, as well as for hardware and software to facilitate autonomous and automatic decision-making and planning of consumable usage and spare availability. Technology candidates for ALM include wireless tagging and monitoring systems for inventory tracking, and integrated software components that facilitate tracking, review, and management of the logistics chain.
One of the most important aspects of an ALM system is the ability to automatically track and update the location of hardware as
it is moved around the vehicle or habitat. A database localization tool showing fewer than 0.01 percent of the items missing, in a complex environment, is the capability objective, which is far more accurate than modern commercial warehouse practices that achieve approximately 3 percent of inventory categorized as missing, typically in less complex environments.
The aim of this Sprint is to design a solution for high accuracy, real-time localization of inventory within the International Space Station. Some notable challenges include:
- an inhomogeneous item population
- the spacecraft environment is typically a complex scattering environment for radio frequencies, and
- spacecraft cargo is densely packed for efficient use of spacecraft volume. Please keep in mind that size, weight, and power must all be kept under control, since they induce severe penalties to the overall mission architecture.
NASA has already identified the following Technology Candidates, which are currently at low technology readiness levels:
[TRL 2]: technology concept formulated.
[TRL 3]: experimental proof of concept.
[TRL 4]: technology validated in lab.