Activity Planning for a Lunar Orbital Mission

  • John L. Bresina NASA Ames Research Center


This article describes a challenging, real-world planning problem within the context of a NASA mission called LADEE (Lunar Atmospheric and Dust Environment Explorer). I present the approach taken to reduce the complexity of the activity-planning task in order to perform it effectively under the time pressures imposed by the mission requirements. One key aspect of this approach is the design of the activity planning process based on principles of problem decomposition and planning abstraction levels. The second key aspect is the mixed-initiative system developed for this task, called LASS (LADEE Activity Scheduling System). The primary challenge for LASS was representing and managing the science constraints that were tied to key points in the spacecraft’s orbit, given their dynamic nature due to the continually updated orbit determination solution.