The Personal Satellite Assistant (PSA) is a small robot proposed by NASA to assist astronauts who are living and working aboard the space shuttle or space station. To help the astronaut, it has to move around safely. Navigation is made difficult by the arrangement of thrusters. Only forward and leftward thrust is available and rotation will introduce translation. This paper shows how stable navigation can be achieved through neuroevolution in three basic navigation tasks: (1) Stopping autorotation, (2) Turning 90 degrees, and (3) Moving forward to a position. The results show thatit is possible to learn to control the PSA stably and efficiently through neuroevolution.
[ Winner of the GECCO-2005 Best Paper Award in Real-World Applications ]