Safe Agents in Space: Preventing and Responding to Anomalies in the Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment

  • Daniel Tran
  • Steve Chien
  • Gregg Rabideau
  • Benjamin Cichy
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4324)


This paper describes the design of the Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment, a software agent that has been running on-board the EO-1 spacecraft since 2003. The agent recognizes science events, retargets the spacecraft to respond to the science events, and reduces data downlink to only the highest value science data. The autonomous science agent was designed using a layered architectural approach with specific redundant safeguards to reduce the risk of an agent malfunction to the EO-1 spacecraft. The agent was designed to be “safe” by first preventing anomalies, then by automatically detecting and responding to them when possible. This paper describes elements of the design that increase the safety of the agent, several of the anomalies that occurred during the experiment, and how the agent responded to these anomalies.


Ground Contact Safe Agent Command Sequence Mission Operator Flight Software System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Tran
    • 1
  • Steve Chien
    • 1
  • Gregg Rabideau
    • 1
  • Benjamin Cichy
    • 1
  1. 1.Jet Propulsion LaboratoryCalifornia Institute of TechnologyUSA

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