Potential applications of expert systems and operations research to space station logistics functions

by Thomas F. Lippiatt, D. A. Waterman

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This Note is the final report of an assessment study to determine the applicability of operations research, artificial intelligence, and expert systems to logistics problems for the space station, which must support multiple systems using only on-board resources. It recommends that the Space Station Program develop an integrated logistics decision support system to be used by all management levels during the design, development, and operational phases, and that three major logistics modeling capabilities be developed for a decision-support system: The first would provide on-orbit availability for each individual system; the second would compute the mix of on-orbit spares for each system; and the third would compute an optimum spares mix for each logistics module resupply mission. No existing models were found to be appropriate, but are probably within reach of current state-of-the-art operations research. The most promising area for expert systems in the space program is the area of fault detection and diagnosis. The authors recommend two applications within this area: troubleshooting RMS, the remote manipulator system for the shuttle, and developing an intelligent system for ground system communication equipment in a way that will encourage a fault-tolerant design.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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