As humans look to explore the solar system beyond low Earth orbit, the technology advancements required point heavily towards autonomy. The operation of complex human spacecraft has thus far been solved with heavy human involvement- full ground control rooms and nearly constantly inhabited spacecraft. As the goal of space exploration moves to beyond the International Space Station, the physical and budgetary constraints of business as usual become overwhelming. A new paradigm of delivering spacecraft and other assets capable of self-maintenance and self-operation prior to launching crew solves many problems- and at the same time, it opens up an array of interesting control problems. This talk will focus on robotic and autonomous vehicle system control development efforts that support the new concepts of human exploration of the solar system.
Dr. Julia Badger is the Autonomy and Vehicle Systems Manager (VSM) system manager for the Gateway program at NASA-Johnson Space Center. She also serves as the Autonomous Systems Technical Discipline Lead for JSC. She is responsible for the research and development of autonomous system capabilities, on the Earth, the International Space Station, the Gateway, and for future exploration, that include dexterous manipulation, autonomous spacecraft control and caretaking, and human-robot interfaces. Julia has a BS from Purdue University, and an MS and PhD from the California Institute of Technology, all in Mechanical Engineering. Her work has been honored with several awards, including NASA Software of the Year, Early Career, Director’s Commendation, and Exceptional Achievement Awards.