Autonomous Mission Operations TOCA Autonomous Operations Project (AMO-TOCA) - 09.13.18

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ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
When future space missions take humans to destinations far from Earth, including asteroids or Mars, communication delays between the distant crew and mission control require crews to work more independently. The Autonomous Mission Operations TOCA Autonomous Operations Project (AMO-TOCA) will test advanced software and operational concepts to determine how crewmembers on the International Space Station can manage spacecraft system with less involvement from the ground support staff. 
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Jeremy D. Frank, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: AMO

Principal Investigator(s)
Jeremy D. Frank, Ph.D., NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States

Kara Pohlkamp, M.S., Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States
NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
Technology Demonstration Office (TDO)

Research Benefits
Space Exploration

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2014 - September 2015

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • During future missions to distant destinations such as Mars or asteroids, communication between the spacecraft and Earth will be delayed.  This leads to the need for more independent spacecraft crews. The Autonomous Mission Operations (AMO) project demonstrates advanced software to help astronauts operate their spacecraft with less assistance from Earth.

  • To test this concept of operations, the space station crew assumes more responsibility for managing the Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) and Station Support Computers (SSCs).  TOCA helps to ensure reclaimed water is safe to drink.  SSCs are used to view plans and procedures, and for crew personal use. These new responsibilities include:

    • Keeping track of what TOCA maintenance and sample analysis are required when

    • Determining if the level of organic carbons within the water is in or out of current trends.

    • TOCA and SSC Hardware failure determination and recovery planning.


The AMO FY14 experiment concept is to turn over management of a selected ISS system to the onboard crew and software over the course of multiple crew rotations onboard ISS.  For Expeditions 40 – 42, the selected systems are the Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) and the Station Support Computer (SSC) laptops. The goal of this task is to understand if the ability to know “what must be done” is successfully transferred onboard.
Each week the onboard crew utilizes AMO software, accessible from the SSCs or iPads, to provide a recommendation of what TOCA activities are required for the next planning cycle.  The ground already knows the answer from the current ISS planning cycles and is able to rectify any differences from the crew determined activity set.
Once the crew’s recommendations are accepted, the execution details required are included into the onboard plan.  When it is time for a procedure to be executed, the crew uses their normal, certified tools and processes to complete the activity.  However, if the crew has a question or issue during procedure execution, they are asked to consult AMO software before calling the ground to determine if they can resolve the issue themselves.  The software includes new concepts for interactive reference material containing system knowledge beyond the level of traditional onboard references.
After each water analysis, AMO software acquires the data files from the TOCA, evaluates the data with advanced failure recognition and diagnostic tools, and reports the result to the crew.  Thus when the crew reports an activity is complete, they will also be asked to report 1) if TOCA performance was nominal and 2) if the water total organic carbon (TOC) levels are within onboard trends.  In order to fully test this concept of operations, if an off-nominal scenario does not occur for free, a planned non-harmful issue with TOCA is caused.  The selected scenario is to under fill a water sample bag, and thus during an analysis, TOCA  runs out of water.  This  causes TOCA to enunciate alerts that the crew attempts to diagnose with AMO software, whichleads them to recommend the addition of a TOCA priming activity.  It is possible that TOCA will experience an issue during the experiment; in these cases, it is expected the crew uses the AMO software to resolve the issue, and if not, to defer to ground.
During the experiment, the crew monitors SSC laptop performance.  Information collected for each SSC includes up time, network latency, network connection type, device temperatures, CPU utilization, and memory utilization.  If any of these parameters exceeds pre-established thresholds, alerts generate along with a next-step recommendation.  A history of alerts for each laptop is also maintained. 
In order to manage risk to TOCA, the experiment concept is for the crew to always recommend all TOCA actions suggested by the software to the ground.  This way the ground provides an authority to proceed as required for safety.  One of the major goals of this study is to show that these additional tasks and hardware knowledge can be transferred onboard without increasing preflight training.  Our hypothesis is that the software augments crew knowledge and provides failure recognition capabilities.  We will also test that the operational references embedded in the software are intuitive and easy to navigate in the event of an off nominal situation.
The AMO experiment is designed to integrate with established ground analyses and planning cycles to reduce risk to crew and equipment.  All generated data used in analysis review remains available to the ground analysis team, in addition to being used as inputs for the AMO software package onboard.  Further, planning inputs provided by the crew based on AMO software recommendations are sent to the Operations Planning team in time for ground review prior to short term plan uplink.

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Space Applications
Crews traveling to distant destinations in space have to make decisions with less input from support staff on Earth, as communications are delayed across long distances.  The Autonomous Mission Operations project aims to show that software can help crew members manage hardware on their own without increasing pre-flight training.  The experimental software being tested includes advanced fault detection and diagnostic technology and new concepts for just-in-time training of detailed system knowledge.  “Management” of the hardware includes recognizing and troubleshooting malfunctions, analyzing data, and determining what activities need to be performed.

Earth Applications
Advanced analytical software could help future crews make more informed decisions in settings where communications are severely delayed or limited, from natural disaster zones too deep within mines. Software can help in situations when prior training is limited, or when contact with remote experts is delayed or not possible.

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Operational Requirements and Protocols

Repeated from the IDRD Requirements above:

Each week there needs to be a 5 minute crew activity (AMO-TOCA PLAN) for the crew to make their TOCA activity schedule recommendations to the ground.  Since the ground knows what activities are already in the long term plan, the ground has the “correct answer.”  If the software is unable to provide the correct answer through the crew,the ground provides corrections as required.
After each of the following nominal TOCA activities there needs to be a 5-minute crew activity (AMO-TOCA-ANALYSIS) to review the data analysis.  At the end of this activity, the crew reports if TOCA performance is nominal or off-nominal (and how) and if the TOC trend is in or out of trend.  The time required to actually perform the TOCA activity is not charged to the experiment, only the 5minute additional data review preceding.
There are 15-minute activities (AMO-SURVEY) spaced during the increment for the crew to provide feedback regarding the software.


Execution Notes
Ops Notes
Use AMO software to provide the ground with TOCA plan recommendations
Autonomous Mission Operations (AMO) TOCA Activity planning.
Use AMO Software to inform MCC-H if TOCA performance was nominal and if the TOC levels are within current ISS trends.  If off-nominal performance or TOC levels is suspected provide MCC-H with a next step recommendation. (Voice or crew note)
Autonomous Mission Operations (AMO) Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) Analysis
Autonomous Mission Operations (AMO) crew survey.
If TOCA has not had an unplanned off-nominal scenario, near the end of Inc 40 there will be a planned off-nominal scenario that consists of the crew attempting a sample bag analysis for an under-filled bag.  This entire analysis activity should be charged to the experiment because it will be above and beyond what is required for ISS maintenance. The AMO team works with the increment Ops Planning team to get these activities into the timeline correctly.  One of the 15-minute survey activities should be planned shortly after this planned scenario to aid with data collection.
Once the AMO experiment begins, it is highly desired to schedule all TOCA-related activities for the crew members involved with the AMO experiment.  The experiment is slated to commence during Increment 40 and end during Increment 42. USOS Crew for Increments 39-42 train for the AMO software, and so there should be no limitations on scheduling AMO related activity.
The AMO experiment requests 30 minutes of crew time to allow the crew to work through any off-nominal unplanned TOCA-related faults with the AMO software as the timeline permits.
AMO also works with OCA to schedule automated daily uplink of the current schedule to the AMO software and daily downlink of software log files. These activities do not require crew time.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites
NASA@Google: Jeremy Frank on The Autonomous Mission Operations Project
Facebook NASA AMO

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AMO Software Plan Input interface.  This part of the AMO software recommends TOCA water sampling and maintenance activities to the crew, allows the crew to add their own activities; forward those requests to Mission Control, and shows scheduled and completed TOCA activities.

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Station Support Computer (SSC) monitoring interface.  This part of the software shows the crew the status of every SSC at a glance.  The crew sees which computers may have problems (shown in yellow) or are offline (shown in grey).  The crew then assesses what is causing problems with any computer, and what recommended actions may solve the problem.

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View of the Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOCA) located in the Node 3 module as documented by the Expedition 36 crew.  (NASA Image)

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