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This paper examines the history and future applications of autonomous operations in space as a modern solution to an array of limitations that recent research has only just started utilizing and continues to explore. There is a complex history of autonomous operations in space and some of its potential benefits include reducing production rates, costs, communication delays, and dangerous environments that pose threats to human life. The construction of the International Space Station is a prime example of quality work that took over twenty years to complete with human intervention. Research over the past couple decades have led to working designs and pathways for future development. NASA developed an Autonomous Voice Assistant prototype for one of their existing command programs, the NASA Platform for Autonomous Systems. In January of 2021, NASA funded CubeSat Pathfinder for Autonomous Navigation to develop a low cost navigation and architecture platform. The applications of autonomous technology can be infinitely compounded by the dynamic capabilities of mechanical operation, robotics, AI, and code infrustructures. Autonomy would cut time and cost challenges for building satellites, taking photographs, transportation, and adaptive controls. Human safety in testing, exploration of unknown environments, and risk management would not be so prevalent as a primary concern. Outside of astronautical applications, the impact of autonomous technology can reach a global scale including agricultural efficiency, ground transportation, and menial tasks in entry level jobs, which affects the disabled community in competing efficiencies and cost. The legal and ethical impacts are still in consideration with regards to patent law, as well as the implications of sharing information, research, and analysis between nations. Autonomous systems have the potential to transform modern technology in many aspects.

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Survey of Autonomous Systems in Space

This paper examines the history and future applications of autonomous operations in space as a modern solution to an array of limitations that recent research has only just started utilizing and continues to explore. There is a complex history of autonomous operations in space and some of its potential benefits include reducing production rates, costs, communication delays, and dangerous environments that pose threats to human life. The construction of the International Space Station is a prime example of quality work that took over twenty years to complete with human intervention. Research over the past couple decades have led to working designs and pathways for future development. NASA developed an Autonomous Voice Assistant prototype for one of their existing command programs, the NASA Platform for Autonomous Systems. In January of 2021, NASA funded CubeSat Pathfinder for Autonomous Navigation to develop a low cost navigation and architecture platform. The applications of autonomous technology can be infinitely compounded by the dynamic capabilities of mechanical operation, robotics, AI, and code infrustructures. Autonomy would cut time and cost challenges for building satellites, taking photographs, transportation, and adaptive controls. Human safety in testing, exploration of unknown environments, and risk management would not be so prevalent as a primary concern. Outside of astronautical applications, the impact of autonomous technology can reach a global scale including agricultural efficiency, ground transportation, and menial tasks in entry level jobs, which affects the disabled community in competing efficiencies and cost. The legal and ethical impacts are still in consideration with regards to patent law, as well as the implications of sharing information, research, and analysis between nations. Autonomous systems have the potential to transform modern technology in many aspects.