Automated Generation of Tracking Plans for a Network of Communications Antennas

S. Chien, A. Govindjee, T. Estlin, X. Wang, R. Hill, Jr.

This paper describes the Deep Space Network Antenna Operations Planner (DPLAN) : a system that automatically generates antenna tracking plans for a set of highly sensitive radio science and telecommunications antennas. DPLAN accepts as input and equipment configuration and a set of requested antenna track services. The system then uses a knowledge base of antenna operations procedures to produce a plan of activities that will provide the requested services using the allocated equipment. DPLAN produces this plan using an integration of hierarchical task network (HTN) and operator-based planning. A prototype of the DPLAN system was successfully demonstrated in February 1995 at NASA’s experimental DSN station, DSS-13, on a series of Voyager tracks. Based on this successful demonstration, DPLAN will become operational as part of the larger Network Monitor and Control (NMC) upgrade underway projected to save NASA over $9 million per year in operations costs.

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