Christine Joseph and Jack Reid to present papers at IEEE Aerospace Conference

Monday — Friday
March 4, 2019 —
March 8, 2019

The international IEEE Aerospace Conference, with AIAA and PHM Society as technical cosponsors, is organized to promote interdisciplinary understanding of aerospace systems, their underlying science and technology, and their application to government and commercial endeavors. The annual, week-long conference, set in a stimulating and thought-provoking environment, is designed for aerospace experts, academics, military personnel, and industry leaders. The 2019 conference is the 40th in the conference series.

Understanding Socio-Technical Issues Affecting the Current Microgravity Research Marketplace

Christine Joseph, Danielle Wood 

For decades, the International Space Station (ISS) has operated as a bastion of international cooperation and a unique testbed for microgravity research. Beyond enabling insights into human physiology in space, the ISS has served as a microgravity platform for numerous science experiments. In recent years, private industry has also been affiliating with NASA and international partners to offer transportation, logistics management, and payload demands. As the costs of flying projects to the ISS decrease, the barriers limiting non-traditional partners from accessing the ISS as a platform also decrease. However, the ISS in its current form cannot be sustained forever. As NASA looks towards commercialization of the low Earth orbit (LEO) space and the development of a cislunar station, concrete plans for shifting the public-private relationship of the ISS are unclear. With the consistent need to continue microgravity research—from governments and private industry—understanding the socio-technical and policy issues that affect the marketplace for future microgravity platforms is essential to maintaining an accessible and sustainable space economy. How will the US and other governments design public-private partnerships to pursue economic and social goals in the LEO microgravity ecosystem? What governance structures will influence who is eligible to operate platforms for activities including tourism, research, manufacturing and outreach? How will international collaboration occur in the future LEO microgravity ecosystem? This paper presents a review of the current microgravity research ecosystem with a focus on potential future marketplace dynamics.

Combining Social, Environmental and Design Models to Support the Sustainable Development Goals

Jack Reid, Danielle Wood

There are benefits to be gained from combining the strengths of modeling frameworks that capture social, environmental and design-based considerations. Many of the important challenges of the next decade lie at the intersection of the natural environment, human decision making, and the design of space technology to inform decision making. There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals outlined by the United Nations through 2030. Several of these Sustainable Development Goals can be addressed by asking: 1) What is happening in the natural environment? 2) How will humans be impacted by what is happening in the natural environment? 3) What decisions are humans making in response to environmental factors and why? and 4) What technology system can be designed to provide high quality information that supports human decision making? The answers to these questions are often interrelated in complex ways; thus, it is helpful to use a framework from complex systems to integrate these questions. Within the list of Sustainable Development Goals, several fit the three questions above, including #2 Zero Hunger, #6 Clean Water and Sanitation, #13 Climate Action, #14 Life Below Water, and #15 Life on Land. 

This presentation lays out a research agenda to apply environmental modeling, complex systems modeling, and model-based systems engineering to inform the design of space systems in support of the Sustainable Development Goals. This work builds on previous research in the following areas: 1) physics-based environmental modeling; 2) complex systems modeling to simulate human decision making using agent-based models; and 3) model based systems engineering to inform the architecture of satellites or space-enabled data systems. This paper presents a review of the state of the art, shows examples of how these methods have been combined to inform space system design and presents a future research agenda. As examples, two projects related to Sustainable Development Goal #15 will be discussed, including the design of an an earth observation system using space-based and ground-based data collection regarding an invasive plant species in Benin, West Africa. In this example, insights are needed regarding natural variables (i.e., salinity, temperature, and turbidity of local waterways), social variables (i.e., economic impact of the invasive plant on local communities), and design variables (i.e., the technical performance of existing imagery satellites and in-situ sensor networks). Initial progress and next steps on this and other projects will be presented, and the long term goals of this endeavor will be explained.

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