Go to the NASA Homepage
Search >
Click to Search
Human Systems Integration Division homepageHuman Systems Integration Division homepage Organization pageOrganization page Technical Areas pageTechnical Areas page Outreach and Publications pageOutreach and Publications page Contact pageContact page
Human Systems Integration Division Homepage
Outreach & Publications Sidebar Header
Go to the Outreach & Publications pageGo to the Outreach & Publications page
Go to Awards pageGo to Awards page
Go to News pageGo to News page
Go to Factsheets pageGo to Factsheets page
Go to Multimedia pageGo to Multimedia page
Go to Human Factors 101 pageGo to Human Factors 101 page
What is Human System Integration? Website
Publication Header
Toward Enabling Safe Earth-Independent Mission Operations  (2021)
Abstract Header
Although it often comes as a surprise to the general public, most of space safety actually happens on Earth. In NASA's case, while processes and technologies for mission operations have evolved steadily throughout the years, from Apollo, Shuttle, to ISS, astronauts have always relied on flight controllers and mission engineers on the ground for real-time problem solving.

For missions near Low Earth Orbit, such as the International Space Station (ISS), the availability of near real-time communication affords the flight crew a safety net that is as wide as 150+ experts with a combined 600+ years of system-specific experience across 22 unique console disciplines.

For exploration beyond Low Earth Orbit, however, intermittent and delayed communication with ground will require a small crew of roughly four astronauts to, on their own, address urgent, unanticipated anomalies that have historically been handled by a team 20 times their size.

The fundamental challenge for long-duration exploration missions (LDEMs) is how to enable Earth-independent, on-board anomaly response. Our research is focused on identifying and prioritizing the on-board capabilities needed to do so. To do that, we investigated real ISS anomalies and leveraged Mission Evaluation Room (MER) data and artifacts to create comprehensive event timelines that outline which data were utilized at specific decision points. We then extrapolated how events may unfold in a similar anomaly scenario in deep space, where crew would take the lead in the initial response, and any advice from ground would always lag ~1 hour behind current events.
Private Investigators Header
Authors Header
Groups Header
Keywords Header
Earth-Independent, Enabling, Mission, Operations, Safe, Safety, Space
References Header
(abstract), International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS) Managing Risk in Space. October 2021. Osaka, Japan
Download Header
Adobe PDF Icon  11th-IAASS-Wu.pdf (Download Acrobat Reader Click to download Adobe Acrabat Reader)
  (1189KB) (application/pdf)
Go to the First Gov Homepage
Go to the NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration Homepage
Curator: Phil So
NASA Official: Alonso Vera
Last Updated: August 15, 2019