Looking for MrSPOCK: Issues in Deploying a Space Application

Cesta, A., Cortellessa, G., Fratini, S. and Oddi, A

In SPARK-08. Scheduling and Planning Applications woRKshop at ICAPS, Sidney, Australia, 2008

This paper describes a recent effort aimed at building a planning system to support human mission planners in the Long Term Planning of the MARS EXPRESS space mission. Specifically the paper focuses on describing the steps that brought us to develop the first release of MrSPOCK, a system that integrates various features from the planning and scheduling research efforts. In particular MrSPOCK is built on top of a core constraint-based representation centered on timelines. It uses a basic constructive procedure and an optimization cycle based on a genetic algorithm to explore the solution space driven by a multi-objective function. The system is completed by an interaction module that provides several functionalities to end users. Goal of this paper is to show how these different ingredients are combined to obtain a complete solution to a challenging problem that enable mission planners to explore alternatives.