SKEYP: AI Applied to SOHO Keyhole Operations

Nicola Policella, Henrique Oliveira, and Tero Siili

In Third IEEE International Conference on Space Mission Challenges for Information Technology, 2009. SMC-IT 2009, Pasadena, USA, 19-23 July, 2009

The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory's (SOHO) mission operations team has - due to a spacecraft malfunction - had to deal with the Keyhole Periods problem since 2003. This combinatorial problem arises from the conflict between limited telemetry downlink capabilities during keyhole periods and the need to maximize the return of science data while respecting other constraints, such as limited on-board storage capacity. Until recently, this problem has been addressed by manually generating data production and downlink plans. This work presents the SOHO Keyhole Planner (SKEYP), a software tool designed to improve on the manual workflow for plan generation by shortening the time needed and reduce significance of the learning curve associated with this process.