Aurora was originally developed to help NASA tackle difficult, mission-critical scheduling problems that previously required the judgment and experience of expert human schedulers. For example, Aurora was deployed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to schedule the use of floor space and other resources at the Space Station Processing Facility (SSPF), the world’s largest low-particle clean room where International Space Station components are prepared for space flight. Because SSPF processing and launch costs are very expensive, it is necessary to meet launch dates and utilize SSPF resources efficiently. However, this is difficult because there are many types of resources, tasks, and constraints; the floor space and resources are over-committed; and the constraints are unusual.
The Boeing Company uses Aurora to prioritize factory production of its new flagship Boeing 787 Dreamliner™ commercial airliner by balancing resource capacities with manufacturing requirements and constraints. The result is a dynamic assembly schedule that adapts to real-time production variability and allows Boeing to execute the plan as efficiently as possible.
Aurora was also used to create Aurora/AMP, a replacement for the Automated Manifest Planner developed by Stottler Henke and used by NASA since 1994.
“The precursor version of Aurora is used daily to support major processing and space shuttle launch decisions; to coordinate our launches with those of Russia, Japan, and the European Space Agency; and to determine NASA’s launch requirements and flight rates,” says NASA Shuttle Processing Manager Tom Overton. “It enables us to generate complex schedules in a few hours, compared to days or weeks required by our previous scheduling systems.”
So Many Benefits, but Paradigm Shift Slows Adoption: A Lesson to Learn from GM, NUMMI & Toyota
GM provides a prescient lesson to slow adopters of intelligent scheduling or critical chain. In 1984, General Motors and Toyota opened NUMMI as a joint venture. Toyota showed GM the secrets of its production system: How it made cars of much higher quality and much lower cost than GM achieved. Although all was made available to GM, GM did not change and paid the price. Listen to the details here.
Individual Customer Success Stories
The Boeing Company uses Aurora and Aurora-CCPM™ to prioritize factory production of its new flagship Boeing 787 Dreamliner™ commercial airliner by balancing resource capacities with manufacturing requirements and constraints. The result is a dynamic assembly schedule that adapts to real-time production variability and allows Boeing to execute the plan as efficiently as possible.
At the request of the pharmaceutical industry, Stottler Henke has developed Aurora-ProPlan, a customization of Aurora specifically for pharmaceutical production and project management. Aurora-ProPlan adds capabilities necessary to perform Pharmaceutical production and project management optimally.
Aurora was used to create Aurora/AMP, a replacement for the original Automated Manifest Planner which was developed by Stottler Henke in 1994. AMP generated short-term and long-term (10 year) schedules of ground-based activities that prepared space shuttles before each mission and refurbished them after each mission. Because the shuttle spacecraft and ground-based facilities were so expensive, increasing the number of shuttle launches by just one was worth hundreds of millions of dollars, so finding near-optimal schedules was critical for NASA. Aurora was able to provide rapid generation of near-optimal schedules which enabled NASA to perform what-if studies that offered numerous alternate scenarios.
Aurora will be included in Temporis, an on-board scheduling system to be used by NASA crew members aboard the next generation Crew Exploration Vehicle. Aurora was designated by NASA as an SBIR Success Story.
The Aurora intelligent scheduling framework has been applied to Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN) scheduling to create an automatic scheduling and deconfliction capability called the Managed Intelligent Deconfliction and Scheduling for Satellite Communications (MIDAS) that improves Satellite Control Network scheduling by providing automated schedule generation and deconfliction based on the current methods, procedures, and heuristics used by human satellite control network schedulers. MIDAS has been integrated with existing AFSCN software systems and is being transitioned to operational use by AFSCN schedulers. Now Stottler Henke is building on the success of MIDAS by developing Synth, for automating satellite scheduling and deconfliction at individual SOCs, and DICAMPSS, for providing greater sharing and availability of information and knowledge. Read the MIDAS Story
Aurora is used by the Massachusetts General Hospital to schedule its medical residency program. Aurora reduces the time and effort needed to generate schedules, and provides better support for the hospital’s complex staffing needs.
To optimize a major automobile manufacturer’s vehicles for both nondestructive and crash testing, Stottler Henke customized Aurora with domain-specific heuristics used in the vehicle task planning process.
The US Navy selected Aurora-CCPM™ software to schedule submarine maintenance operations at the Naval Submarine Support Facility (NSSF) in New London, Connecticut.
Clipper Windpower selected Aurora to schedule the manufacturing of its Liberty series wind turbine, the largest wind turbine made in the United States.
Aurora helps Bombardier schedule their airplane assembly operations more quickly, so they can handle production rate changes and component delivery delays more effectively.