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Evaluation of Crew-Centric Onboard Mission Operations Planning and Execution Tool (Onboard_Planning)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Human factors
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

Currently, mission planning for the International Space Station (ISS) is primarily completed by ground operators in mission control. The task of creating a week-long mission plan for ISS crew requires ground personnel designing a baseline plan, re-planning, and adapting to real-time constraints and emerging issues. Future missions to other planets or areas with limited connectivity to Earth, will require more of these ground-based tasks to be handled autonomously by the crew onboard. Time delay due to the increased distances between spacecraft and Earth will require significant levels of autonomy. Communication windows may also be limited which will put even more pressure on the need for autonomous decision-making. In order to support these increasing needs it is necessary to develop systems that support crewmembers autonomous decision-making, while at the same time do not result in additional workload by the crew. The goal of this study on crew self-scheduling was to assess questions of plan and constraint complexity that can be handled on the crew-side, integration of collaborative and individual crew planning, and integration of crew generated plans with plans generated by ground controllers when there is time delay.

This study had the following specific aims:

  1. Evaluate crew self-scheduling and plan execution through Playbook for the ISS 1-year mission and provide a platform to allow for future research on crew autonomy for mission operations.
  2. Provide Playbook as an operations tool to increase the realism and efficiency of NASA's Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) and NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) analog.
  3. Determine the appropriate level of information (e.g., constraints, plan complexity) required for crewmembers to schedule their time autonomously with limited ground support by unobtrusively gathering and analyzing Playbook use data.
  4. Characterize task workload (e.g., time spent planning versus execution of plans, time on self-scheduled activities) of crewmembers completing an executing self-scheduling tasks by unobtrusively gathering and analyzing Playbook use data.

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Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. Data sets are not publicly available but can be requested.
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Level of autonomy
Plan complexity
Planning time
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Ground 05/01/2009 In Progress
HERA Campaign 3 01/26/2016 10/19/2016 Four 30-day missions
HERA Campaign 4 05/06/2017 06/18/2018 Four 45 days One 23 days

Human Research Program (HRP) Human Research Roadmap (HRR) Information
Crew health and performance is critical to successful human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. The Human Research Program (HRP) investigates and mitigates the highest risks to human health and performance, providing essential countermeasures and technologies for human space exploration. Risks include physiological and performance effects from hazards such as radiation, altered gravity, and hostile environments, as well as unique challenges in medical support, human factors, and behavioral health support. The HRP utilizes an Integrated Research Plan (IRP) to identify the approach and research activities planned to address these risks, which are assigned to specific Elements within the program. The Human Research Roadmap is the web-based tool for communicating the IRP content.

The Human Research Roadmap is located at:

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Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Pamela A. Bieri
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
Directed Research