Ground-based controllers can remain in continuous communication with spacecraft in low Earth orbit (LEO) with near-instantaneous communication speeds. This permits near real-time control of all of the core spacecraft systems by ground personnel. However, as NASA missions move beyond LEO, light-time communication delay issues, such as time lag and low bandwidth, will prohibit this type of operation. As missions become more distant, autonomous control of manned spacecraft will be required. The focus of this paper is the power subsystem. For present missions, controllers on the ground develop a complete schedule of power usage for all spacecraft components. This paper presents work currently underway at NASA to develop an architecture for an autonomous spacecraft, and focuses on the development of communication between the Mission Manager and the Autonomous Power Controller. These two systems must work together in order to plan future load use and respond to unanticipated plan deviations. Using a nominal spacecraft architecture and prototype versions of these two key components, a number of simulations are run under a variety of operational conditions, enabling development of content and format of the messages necessary to achieve the desired goals. The goals include negotiation of a load schedule that meets the global requirements (contained in the Mission Manager) and local power system requirements (contained in the Autonomous Power Controller), and communication of off-plan disturbances that arise while executing a negotiated plan. The message content is developed in two steps: first, a set of rapid-prototyping "paper" simulations are preformed; then the resultant optimized messages are codified for computer communication for use in automated testing.