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Vice-Chair, Space Operations and Support Technical Committee, AIAA Space operations may be generalized as consisting of three tracks: (1) Space Situational Awareness-space weather and ops management (SSA); (2) IT Security on Operational Ground Segment; and (3) Spacecraft Operations Concepts with Optical Links. As an application of ESA data management, G. di Girolamo (Ground Segment Engineering Department, ESOC) described the functional architecture for managing SSA for satellite/ space operators in terms of sensors layer, server processes layer, and the SSA user layer. There is a need to protect the SSA server processes layer for the quality-assured SSA user layer. Studies of space weather, space debris and asteroids characterize space environment. The real space environment shows a higher concentration of single space weather upsets over South America than other global regions, expanding atmosphere drag due to high energy radiation. Modeling orbital and re-entry predictive data affected by such factors help simulate spacecraft/ satellite operations. Satellites launched to geostationary regions wherein micro-meteoroids and other space debris challenged collision avoidance. SSA Sensor Layer The community of telescope operators collects data of 30cm + objects, particularly in tracklets. Radar-and laser-tracking are used to monitor LEO traffic; telescopes for GEO. Space debris in geostationary orbits detected with optical telescopes is illuminated by the Sun. The advantage
Journal of Space Operations & Communicator (ISSN 2410-0005), Vol. 16, No. 4, Year 2019
SPECIAL ISSUE: Improving Space Operations Workshop (May
03-05, 2019), Part I.
From the Editor-in Chief
This quarterly issue is dedicated to the recapture of ideas from technical papers presented and
discussed during the recent “Improving Space Operations Workshop” in Santa Clara, CA, May
02-03, 2019. In addition to long-term 5th generation wireless networking, the forum included
topics on current space communication and navigation initiatives, alternative communication
technologies, spacecraft monitoring systems. Risk mitigation of data losses with anomaly
detection and fault diagnosis indicated more efficient telemetry analysis using learning
algorithms. Automated data processing and integration of multiple knowledge domains enable
intelligent systems to manage multi-failure responses. Just as importantly discussed, pre-launch
mission planning and project management of multiple system operations to sustain and protect
communications and navigation were topics discussed emphasizing a required advancement of
technologies and smart implementation of their respective applications. A future quarterly issue
will be dedicated for its overview. Impressive with the workshop presenters was the fact they
were all subject matter experts having been intimately engaged in both the trials and successes of
what they presented at the workshop. Providing an overview of the workshop forum has been a
personal beneficial opportunity to conceptualize distinct topics into a composite construct
showing a contemporary outlook on space operations. Thank you, readers.
Ronald H. Freeman, PhD
Improving Space Operations Workshop 2019: Photos
Journal of Space Operations & Communicator (ISSN 2410-0005), Vol. 16, No. 4, Year 2019
Journal of Space Operations & Communicator (ISSN 2410-0005), Vol. 16, No. 4, Year 2019
Journal of Space Operations & Communicator (ISSN 2410-0005), Vol. 16, No. 4, Year 2019
Journal of Space Operations & Communicator (ISSN 2410-0005), Vol. 16, No. 4, Year 2019
Journal of Space Operations & Communicator (ISSN 2410-0005), Vol. 16, No. 4, Year 2019
ISOW 2019: Overview 1.
Modern LTE/5G wireless networking architectures improve wireless broadband speeds to
meet increasing international demands. Long-term evolution to improve wireless broadband
speeds is possible through the integration of large numbers of antennas into future 5th generation
(5G). The 71-76 GHz (70 GHz) band was identified at the International Telecommunication
Union (ITU)’s World Radio-communication Conference (WRC) 2015, as a possible band for
future 5G wireless system deployments.1 Interference level was developed when considered
power limited, yet satellite networks tend to be interference limited.2 NASA has set the standard
for connecting data-gathering satellites with ground stations on Earth, through global
communication networks. In the 28 GHz band, Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) uplink–i.e., the
communication links from Earth Stations (ESs) to Space Stations (SSs)–is in wide use, whereas
in the 70 GHz band, the Fixed Service (FS) Wireless Backhaul (WB) for other cellular systems–
e.g., the 4th generation (4G)–is the predominant incumbent. Future mission communication
service demands for higher and faster data rates are expected to increase. According to ISOW
2019 presenters, Subray and Gifford, LTE/5G meets increasing demand for faster wireless
broadband speeds and that 70 GHz band will be possible for future 5G wireless system
Journal of Space Operations & Communicator (ISSN 2410-0005), Vol. 16, No. 4, Year 2019
Sean Casey of Atlas Space Operations, noted how shared costs and risks foster greater
interoperability and sustainability satellite communications. Sending/receiving data on Earth
from any spacecraft is a difficult task, mainly because of the large distances involved. NASA’s
Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) manages 3 communication networks for
transmitting and receiving signals across large distances that contain space relay satellites and
distributed ground stations: Near Earth Network (NEN), Space Network (SN), and Deep Space
Network (DSN).
Beyond the radio and microwave portions of the electromagnetic spectrum and towards the near-
infrared and in the realm of light photons, NASA uses lasers for space communications. Lunar
Laser Communications encodes data onto a beam of laser light to enable optical communications
for data transmission up to 622 Mbps. Space laser communications technology has the potential
to provide 10 to 100 times higher data rates than traditional radio frequency systems for the same
mass and power. Hosted onboard a U.S. Air Force spacecraft as part of the Space Test Program
(STP-3) mission, Lunar Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) demonstrated this 1,244
Gbps technology in a 2-year mission to geosynchronous orbit – 22,000 miles above Earth’s
Journal of Space Operations & Communicator (ISSN 2410-0005), Vol. 16, No. 4, Year 2019
One solution for NASA was to look beyond the radio and microwave portions of the
electromagnetic spectrum towards the near-infrared and in the realm of light photons. Light
photons are small packets of electromagnetic waves, and when many are transmitted together “in
synch,” they form what is commonly known as a LASER beam. NASA ventured into a new era
of space communications using lasers, beginning with the Lunar Laser Communications
Demonstration (LLCD). LLCD established the ability to encode data onto a beam of laser light
and validated a new form of communications from space, “optical communications.” The term
“optical communications” refers to the use of light as the medium for data transmission. LLCD
has the capability to transfer data at a rate of up to 622 megabits per second (Mbps). It will
demonstrate two-way, high-rate laser communications from lunar orbit aboard the Lunar
Atmosphere Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE).
Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) mission is a testbed for bidirectional
optical communications and associated communication techniques, including adaptive optics,
symbol coding, link layer protocols and network layer protocols. LCRD will test the
functionality in various settings and scenarios of optical communications links from a GEO
payload to ground stations in Southern California and Hawaii over a two-year period following
launch in 2019. The LCRD investigator team will execute numerous experiments to test critical
aspects of laser communications activities over real links and systems, collecting data on the
effects of atmospheric turbulence and weather on performance and communications availability.
LCRD will also incorporate emulations of target scenarios, including direct-to-Earth (DTE) links
from user spacecraft and optical relay providers supporting user spacecraft.
Journal of Space Operations & Communicator (ISSN 2410-0005), Vol. 16, No. 4, Year 2019
LCRD consists of a flight segment and a ground segment that will demonstrate two simultaneous
bidirectional optical links
Another motivation for exploring laser communications was the development of more efficient,
cost-effective space communications equipment. Because RF wavelengths are longer, the size of
their transmission beam covers a wider area (about 100 miles); therefore, capture antennas for
RF data transmissions must be very large. Laser wavelengths are 10,000 times shorter, allowing
data to be transmitted across narrower, tighter beams. The smaller wavelengths of laser-based
communications are more secure, delivering the same amount of signal power to much smaller
collecting antennas. NASA’s LLCD mission will test this concept. Flight Terminal Data,
transmitted in the form of hundreds of millions of short pulses of light every second, will be sent
by LLST, aboard the LADEE spacecraft. For example, using S-band communications, the
LADEE spacecraft would take 639 hours to download an average-length HD movie. Using
LLCD technology, download times will be reduced to less than eight minutes.
Journal of Space Operations & Communicator (ISSN 2410-0005), Vol. 16, No. 4, Year 2019
Lunar Laser-communications Space Terminal (LLST)
Laser communication terminals can support higher data rates with lower mass, volume and
power requirements, a cost savings for future missions. Flight Terminal Data, transmitted in the
form of hundreds of millions of short pulses of light every second, will be sent by Lunar Laser-
communications Space Terminal (LLST), consisting of an telescope-containing optical module
for Earth-pointing beams, a modem module containing both transmitter and receiver, and a
controller electronics module telescope (transmits and collects the signals transmitted to and
from Earth by fiber-optic cables). The data transmissions will be down-linked to any one of three
ground telescopes in New Mexico, California or Spain.
Lunar Laser Communications Ground Terminal (LLGT)
The Lunar Lasercom Ground Terminal (LLGT) is the primary ground terminal for NASA’s
Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD), which demonstrated for the first time high-
rate duplex laser communication between Earth and satellite in orbit around the Moon. The
LLGT employed a novel architecture featuring an array of telescopes and employed several
novel technologies including a custom PM multimode fiber and high-performance cryogenic
photon-counting detector arrays. LLGT consists of an array of eight transceiver and receiver
telescopes mounted on a single gimbal. The telescopes and gimbal are connected to the control
room where ground-based optical transmitters, receivers and associated electronics reside. The
four, 6-inch refracting telescopes are used to send both a beacon and data to the LLST. Four, 17-
inch reflective telescopes collect and focus the faint optical data signals from the LLST to optical
fibers leading to detectors in the control room. All eight telescopes are housed in a fiberglass
enclosure for stability to maintain their alignment and operation.
Delay/Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN)
Journal of Space Operations & Communicator (ISSN 2410-0005), Vol. 16, No. 4, Year 2019
NASA’s previous mission used single relay or point-to-point links to communicate with low-
Earth orbit as well as deep space spacecraft. However, future exploration concepts will include
several hops via satellite and other intermediate nodes, building the foundation for a “Solar
System Internet”. Knowing the state of the network allows one to apply decisions for optimizing
and adapting communication to the context. Monitoring over a DTN network provides a method
to reduce the significant amount of data that is needed to characterize some network feature or
parameter. This may be useful to improve DTN algorithms.
For example, Laser Light Global Limited (Laser Light) intends to be “First to Market” with the
All-Optical HALO Global Network System™. The hybrid network design will converge
infrastructure of a “global viewing” satellite constellation with the location diversity of existing
undersea cable and terrestrial fiber networks.
The complete +33Tbps HALO hybrid network will be made up of 12 optical satellites expected
to deliver service speeds of 200 gigabits per second, bi-directionally, or 100 times faster than
conventional space-based radio downlinks. Laser Light’s StarBeam™ OS is a US patent,
proprietary, next-generation, software-defined, all optical communications system. StarBeam™
is intended to be an automated and robust cognitive based computing system using Artificial
Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) algorithms to sense, predict, and infer network
conditions and weather patterns, configured to dynamically manage transmission of data between
optical communications nodes – both terrestrial and orbital - to form a hybrid mesh global
network topology. This newly patented StarBeam™ network system is intended to make
autonomous traffic routing decisions across the entire hybrid network – satellites and ground
service networks, offering multiple “real time” service options to eliminate slowdowns from
network congestion, outages, or weather interruptions.
Journal of Space Operations & Communicator (ISSN 2410-0005), Vol. 16, No. 4, Year 2019
Anomaly Detection (AD) and Fault Diagnosis Methods
As spacecraft send back increasing amounts of telemetry data, improved anomaly detection
systems are needed to lessen the monitoring burden placed on operations engineers and reduce
operational risk. Current spacecraft monitoring systems only target a subset of anomaly types
and often require costly expert knowledge to develop and maintain due to challenges involving
scale and complexity. Spacecraft are exceptionally complex and expensive machines with
thousands of telemetry channels detailing aspects such as temperature, radiation, power,
instrumentation, and computational activities. Monitoring these channels is an important and
necessary component of spacecraft operations given their complexity and cost. In an
environment where a failure to detect and respond to potential hazards could result in the full or
partial loss of spacecraft, anomaly detection is a critical tool to alert operations engineers of
unexpected behavior. Monitoring 1,350 mnemonics developed from Long Short-Term Memory
(LSTM) recurrent neural networks (RNNs) help to achieve high prediction performance while
maintaining interpretability throughout the system. Therefore, a metric indicates how “unusual” a
mnemonic’s behavior is at a given time. A metric indicates how “unusual” a mnemonic’s
behavior is at a given time. In one approach, the metric indicates how “unusual” a mnemonic’s
behavior is at a given time. Simple forms of anomaly detection consist of out-of-limits (OOL)
approaches which use predefined thresholds and raw data values to detect anomalies, the most
widely used AD in the aerospace industry.3 Anomaly detection systems need a mechanism to
tolerate unpredictability.
Telemetry Analysis with Learning Algorithms (TALA) is a prototype AD system in use at
Landsat 8, used daily for engineering reviews. The algorithms learn to predict a system’s
behavior based on historical data and produce alerts in case of behavior changes. Most anomaly
detection systems do not monitor long-term trends, yet researchers at Telnor Satellite and L3
communications have experimented with predicting seasonal trends. TALA detects anomalies
that last longer than three minutes compared to others that detect instantaneous anomalies.
Patterns that repeat every orbit are easy to predict. By designating several “predictive”
mnemonics, mode mnemonics are used to predict other spacecraft behavior. Mnemonics such as
command counters steadily drift that produces false positives. Excessive false positives produce
alarm fatigue indicating a filter for certain mnemonics. According to Paul Hudgins, TALA
produces 4 – 10 false positives per day for Landsat 8 – out of 1350 mnemonics monitored.
Researchers at Arctic Slope Technical Services consider the TALA advantages to include
increased situational awareness due to greater efficiency to inspect mnemonics and detect subtle
changes than human capability, and time saving due to reduced human plot reviews.
Integrated Systems Health Management (ISHM) Enabling Intelligent Systems
Failure events require adapting a procedural response to a system fault. Jim Ong noted fault
diagnosis and restoring the system’s functionality are the procedures designed to resolve single
failures. When procedures interact with faults to be corrected, mission controllers negotiate the
response procedure. Ong proposed a multi-failure response tool by combining and adapting
single-failure procedures. Anomaly detection, diagnostics, prognostics, and comprehensive
system awareness have not been considered traditionally in the context of autonomy functions
such as planning, scheduling, and mission execution. ISHM as a capability integrates data,
information, and knowledge (DIaK) is applied to achieve a degree of functional capability level
Journal of Space Operations & Communicator (ISSN 2410-0005), Vol. 16, No. 4, Year 2019
(FCL) to help manage the health of the system. The data is processed with a set of specialized
algorithms of Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS). ISHM incorporates an automated
analysis of failure trending to predict if critical data streams approach out-of-norm values.
Knowledge, normally resident in individuals, is crucial to achieve high FCL. On-board ISHM is
implemented with a collection of algorithms that detect specific anomalies during specific
regimes of operation. The problem-space analyzed off-line by experts, subsequently results in
pre-defined solutions. The domain platform for both the problem- and solution- spaces needs to
be embedded and applied to a comprehensive knowledge model in order to develop ISHM
capability and autonomy. NASA Platform for Autonomous Systems (NPAS), software platform,
which encompasses integrated technologies to achieve hierarchical distributed autonomy,
resulted from this innovative approach to ISHM.4
Since knowledge normally resides in individuals, the lower layers include the most people and
the most knowledge. If the spacecraft could accommodate a large number of people to operate it,
people could do the job (analysis, conclusions, and operational decisions). But that is not the
case, and most operators and support personnel are on Earth (on the ground) while the ISS is on
orbit (in space). At the top layer (Layer 1) is the system itself with some automated capability to
manage its health; generally detection of signal range/limit violations that activate alarms. At the
next layer down (Layer 2) are the astronauts who can directly operate the station. They represent
the local knowledge and have local data and information to manage the Station’s health. At the
Journal of Space Operations & Communicator (ISSN 2410-0005), Vol. 16, No. 4, Year 2019
next layer down (Layer 3) are the individuals in the control room. Additional DIaK is accrued
with the control room personnel, and issues can be resolved faster and better in support of the
crew. Here, diverse knowledge is employed regarding each subsystem and their interactions.
Case Study 1: Disrupted Data Collection
The Jupiter Energetic Particle Detector Instruments (JEDI) on the Juno Jupiter polar-orbiting,
atmosphere-skimming, mission to Jupiter will coordinate with the several other space physics
instruments on the Juno spacecraft to characterize and understand the space environment of
Jupiter’s polar regions, and specifically to understand the generation of Jupiter’s powerful
aurora. Three JEDI instruments have been operating in interplanetary space for close to 1 year,
mostly in their “energy modes” with the high voltages turned off. During early commissioning,
the high voltages on JEDI-A180, JEDI-90, and JEDI 270 were operated for about 1 day, 12
days, and 16 days, respectively. These high voltages were autonomously turned off by alarms
within the instrument generated by a new circuit introduced into the JEDI design that senses
small transients on the current outputs from the MCPs (non-heritage, microcircuit plate). The
cause of these “micro-discharges” has been determined to be high fluxes of solar ultraviolet
light entering the sensor. During most of the first year of operation within the interplanetary
environment, the JEDI instruments have been in the energy mode and have obtained
outstanding measurements. Of substantial interest is that, because of the “non-operational”
orientation of the Juno spin axis relative to the sun, the JEDI-A180 field of view actually looked
right at the sun once per spin and directly observed the X-rays coming from the solar flare that
accompanied the generation of the interplanetary event. A set of valves in the fuel pressurization
system — components that help facilitate the firing of the main engine — were a bit sluggish
when scientists executed a command sequence. Holding off on the scheduled burn, Juno went
into safe mode several hours before the specified flyby. Safe mode is what's supposed to happen
when the spacecraft senses something unexpected. It battens down the hatches: The spacecraft
ensures that it's facing the sun to receive solar power, then turns off its scientific instruments and
any nonessential components to protect them for several hours or day. The safe-mode procedure
kept Juno from collecting any scientific data during Wednesday's flyby.
Case Study 2:
Omitron/NASA flight operations engineer Jesus Orozco demonstrates a novel trajectory design
model updated for labor and cost savings. Certain trajectory missions are classified as variable
when yaw, steering target specific orbit planes. With current legacy criteria, such missions FDF
and WSC analysts spend over 175 hours to provide acquisition data for 100+ trajectories per
launch resulting in a total 4900 vector components. By updating criteria used in the model: half-
beam to < 0.90 degrees and differenced Doppler offset to < 4.1 kHz.
GSFC Flight Dynamic Facility is the world leader in innovative mission analysis, trajectory
design, and maneuver planning expertise. Space Exploration Engineering (SEE) and Applied
Defense Solutions (ADS) needed a flight-dynamics system (FDS). As AGI software has proven
successful in so many missions and is in use at most centers, the LADEE team felt confident
using it for their FDS in trajectory design, maneuver planning and orbit determination—as well
as acquisition data and product generation. Astrogator supports an unlimited series of events for
modeling and targeting a spacecraft's trajectory, including impulsive and finite burns and high-
fidelity orbit propagation, while providing the ability to target specified and optimized orbit
states that reference customizable control and result parameters.
Journal of Space Operations & Communicator (ISSN 2410-0005), Vol. 16, No. 4, Year 2019
1. Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Use of Spectrum
Bands Above 24 GHz for Mobile Radio Services, Jul. 2016.
2. Resolution COM6/20: Studies on Frequency-related Matters for International Mobile
Telecommunications Identification Including Possible Additional Allocations to the
Mobile Services on a Primary Basis in Portion(s) of the Frequency Range Between 24.25
and 86 GHz for the Future Development of International Mobile Telecommunications for
2020 and Beyond, Geneva, Switzerland, 2015.
3. Hundman, K., Constantinou,V., Laporte, C., Colwell, I., and Soderstrom, T. Detecting
Spacecraft Anomalies Using LSTMs and Nonparametric Dynamic Thresholding. In KDD
’18: The 24th ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery & Data
Mining, August 19–23, 2018, London, United Kingdom.
4. Figueroa, F. and Walker, M. Integrated System Health Management (ISHM) and
Autonomy Retrieved from
Technical Articles
Challenges in the Verification of Reinforcement Learning Algorithms
Journal of Space Operations & Communicator (ISSN 2410-0005), Vol. 16, No. 4, Year 2019
Perry van Wesel, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Alwyn E. Goodloe, NASA Langely Research Center, Hampton, Virginia
Integrated System Health Management (ISHM) and Autonomy
Fernando Figueroa, NASA Stennis Space Center, MS, USA
Mark G. Walker, D2K Technologies, Ocean Side, CA, USA
Flying Drones beyond visual line of sight using 4G LTE: Issues and Concerns
William D. Ivancic, Syzygy Engineering, Westlake, OH, USA
Robert J Kerczewski, Westlake, OH, USA
Robert W. Murawski, MTI Systems, Cleveland, OH, USA
Konstantin Matheou, Zin Technologies, Cleveland, OH, USA
Alan N Downey, NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH, USA
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.