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Control authority and transfer in complex mission operations  (2010)
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This paper describes the two major aspects of Control Authority allocation and transfer within future human exploration missions: governing policies that guide control allocation decisions, and dynamic control allocation mechanisms that must implement control decisions in accordance with the policies.

Long duration human space exploration missions will introduce a level of complexity into ongoing operations that is unprecedented in NASA experience. Historically, operational control during human missions has followed a paradigm of verbal delegation between the Mission Control Center flight control personnel and the crewmembers in a vehicle. Situational realities expected in NASA’s human exploration goals will require a different paradigm for allocation and transfer of control, for several reasons.

First, a larger number and variety of assets will be in operation at any one time, so assignment and transfer of control for individual assets will increase in complexity. Continually shifting combinations of both human and robotic assets, in both orbital and surface deployments, will further increase complexity of the whole system at any given time. Many subsystems within the human vehicles, including many elements of life support and vehicle engineering, will be automated and capable of operation without direct human intervention; but crewmembers and ground operators need assurance that automated and robotic systems can operate safely and effectively in proximity to people. Finally, latency caused by distance from a mission control center on Earth will affect the control process itself, especially during off-nominal or emergent situations.

This new environment of Command, Control and Communications complexity cannot be mastered without a governing architecture and dynamic approach to allocation and transfer of control. These issues are at the heart of human-systems integration in the execution of long duration missions. Proper Control Management is a practice that reduces risk to crew and to mission, because the main impact of effective Control Authority Management is to increase the probability that a correct decision will be made at every decision point.
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authority, complex, Control, mission, operations, transfer
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Proceedings of the AIAA Space 2010 Conference, Anaheim, California, August 30-September 2, 2010
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Curator: Phil So
NASA Official: Jessica Nowinski
Last Updated: August 15, 2019