Human spaceflight often requires long-term isolation of crewmembers in extreme environments. These environments introduce stressors to both crewmember physiology and psychology. Specific human-factors stressors include long-duration isolation, sleep loss, circadian desynchronization, and high workload. These stressors present a real risk of performance decrement during a spaceflight mission. Research done in spaceflight analogs such as the NASA Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) provide a unique opportunity to study these effects and develop essential metrics to identify and prevent performance decrements in an operationally-relevant setting.
In the field of human spaceflight, real-time performance metrics, and quantification of performance during operationally-relevant tasks and scenarios has the potential for making existing operations safer and more efficient, as well as for improving the design of future vehicles. The identification of critical performance decrements, either in measures of task performance, workload, or situational awareness, may be used to alter the human-automation task allocation or suggest changes to crew resource management.
We have integrated the Draper-developed configurable and portable simulation platform with the HERA module in support of the upcoming Campaign 4 Missions. This required close coordination with the HERA team and the Flight Analogs team to ensure that the facility could accommodate our hardware in the locations and arrangement that best support the science objectives of our project. Our team delivered an updated set of software to the HERA hardware to enable the crew to operate the simulations and progress through the trials and automatically log and save the data for subsequent download and analysis. This enables individual configurations for each HERA crewmember – Commander, Flight Engineer, Mission Specialist 1, and Mission Specialist 2.
In parallel with the software development to support crew autonomous operations of the Draper real-time metrics simulation platform, our team developed a detailed operations manual for the HERA/Flight Analogs team, a crew-operations manual that is focused on the specific procedures for running the study, and a crew training curriculum for training the crew and preparing for baseline data collection. Additionally, to facilitate data analysis and quick-look reports of the data, our team is developing an automated analysis pipeline to analyze the data for the initial key parameters of flight performance (e.g., root mean square error of attitude), workload (e.g., secondary task response times), and situation awareness (e.g., scoring of the verbal callouts as recognized by the automatic speech recognition algorithm).
This platform has been specifically tailored to simulate two operationally-relevant scenarios—a generic piloted lunar landing task and an ISS EVA SAFER inspection of a solar array. This simulation platform will be used to characterize real-time performance metrics including flight performance, workload, and situation awareness during piloted lunar landing and ISS EVA SAFER solar array inspection tasks in HERA during Campaign 4, and the results will be correlated with mission timeline events and NASA Behavioral Health and Performance (BHP) Standard Measures.
Our near-term work will entail supporting the training, baseline data collection, and operations of HERA Campaign 4 Mission 1. Subsequently, we will then analyze the data and prepare for Missions 2, 3, and 4.
Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings
Duda KR, Stankovic AS, York SP, Handley PM, West JJ, Robinson SK. "Real-Time Estimation of the Effects of a Simulated Long-Duration Exploration Mission on Flight Performance, Workload, and Situation Awareness." Abstract and Poster at the 2017 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX. January 23-26, 2017.
2017 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX. January 23-26, 2017. , Jan-2017