SAMMBA Spaceport Scheduler

Exhibit 1: Europe’s spaceport at Kourou (French Guiana) [Image Credit: ESA][1]

Are you interested to know about the potential services that will be offered by the spaceports of the future?

Spaceport Scheduler is one of them. Spaceport Scheduler and its numerous benefits are presented in this article:

The spaceports of the future are intended to increase the number of launches per year by reducing the duration of launch campaign. In addition, they seek to share infrastructures at the same time, increasing the launch rate and minimising waiting times. However, this new concurrent approach, where different players compete for resources, brings new management difficulties at the global level. 

Numerous constraints such as contract priorities, launch deadlines or slots, launch types with different environmental or infrastructure constraints, create a complex puzzle to manage manually. In addition, changes in ongoing spaceport operations (e.g. delay of a launch due to bad weather) or the acquisition of new contracts can greatly affect the planning of future launches, requiring significant rescheduling.

The SAMMBA spaceport scheduler is a new tool intended to automatically provide the most appropriate and holistic launch campaign planning, taking into account the constraints of the type of launch, its needs and limitations. The spaceport scheduler takes advantage of the benefits of Artificial Intelligence to return an optimal planning in a reasonable amount of time.

The SAMMBA spaceport scheduler is a global service which can take advantage of any service/tool that provide information about possible changes in the spaceport operations scenario (new contracts, aborted launches, operations status, use of resources and their availability, weather conditions, among others).

Cost benefit: The system help reduce cost by optimising campaign times in scenario with multiple launchers sharing resources. It increases the performance of the spaceport by better aligning the use of resources.

The improvements offered are aimed at helping to reduce both CAPEX and OPEX costs. CAPEX by optimising the use of infrastructure and resources, reducing the need to acquire new ones. OPEX by optimising the use of operations, reducing the need to hire additional staff.

Automated operation: The sequencer automates manual processes such as the sequencing of campaigns and their stages. However, it should be noted that the results of this automated process are supervised by an operator responsible for the final decision.

Reduced risk: The system helps mitigate risks because the SAMMBA Spaceport Scheduler takes into account multiple constraints and assumptions during the optimisation process, minimising possible inconsistencies in campaign planning that can occur during manual planning.

Reduced operational time: In a scenario with multiple launchers are scheduled to be launched from the same spaceport, the spaceport scheduler helps to reduce time by minimising waiting times between the use of shared resources in operations like launch sequence, reconditioning, maintenance.

Universality: The spaceport scheduler is compatible with different spaceports and takes into account multiple launchers.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870451.
This article reflects the author’s view and not necessarily the views of the European Commission.

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