A Human-Centered Approach to Spacecraft Trajectory Optimization via Immersive Technology

CDSNS Colloquium
Friday, November 5, 2021 - 1:00pm for 1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Online via Zoom
Davide Guzzetti – Auburn University – guzzetti@auburn.eduhttps://www.eng.auburn.edu/aero/faculty/dguzzetti/index.html
Alex Blumenthal

Please Note: Zoom link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/83392531099?pwd=UHh2MDFMcGErbzFtMHBZTmNZQXM0dz09

Traditional spacecraft trajectory optimization approaches focus on automatizing solution generation by capturing the solution space analytically, or numerically, in a single or few instances. However, critical human-computer interactions within optimization processes are almost always disregarded, and they are not well understood. In fact, human intervention spans across the entire optimization process, from the formulation of a problem that lands on known solution schemes, to the identification of an initial guess within the algorithm basin of convergence, to tuning the algorithm hyper-parameters, investigating anomalies, and parsing large databases of optimal solutions to gain insight. Vision-based interaction with sets of multi-dimensional information mitigates the complexity of several applications in astrodynamics. For example, visual-based processes are key to understanding solution space topology for orbit mechanics (e.g., Poincare’ maps), formulating higher quality initial trajectory guesses for early mission design studies, and investigating six-degree-of-freedom (6DOF) dynamics for proximity operations. The capillary diffusion of visual-based data interaction processes throughout astrodynamics has motivated the creation of virtual reality (VR) technology to facilitate scientific discovery since the advent of modern computers. The recent appearance of small, portable, and affordable devices may be a tipping point to advance astrodynamics applications via VR technology. Nonetheless, the tangible benefits for adoption of virtual reality frameworks are not yet fully characterized in the context of astrodynamics applications. What new opportunities virtual reality opens for astrodynamics? What applications benefits from virtual reality frameworks? To answer these and similar questions, our work focuses on a programmatic early assessment and exploration of VR technology for astrodynamics applications. The assessment is constructed by a review of VR literature with elements that are external to the astrodynamics community to facilitate cross-pollination of ideas. Next, the Johnson-Lindenstrauss lemma, together with a set of simplifying assumptions, is employed to analytically capture the value of projecting higher-dimensional information to a given lower dimensional space. Finally, two astrodynamics applications are presented to display solutions that are primarily enabled by virtual reality technology.