Behavioral Health & Performance Research Element
Human Research Program/Space Medicine Division
Team Gap 6: Given the context of long duration missions, what are the optimal ways to support and enable multiple, distributed, autonomous teams to support task performance, teamwork, and psychosocial performance?
Decision Point: Are additional studies of SPIFE’s effectiveness needed?
Summary: The Behavioral Health & Performance Element (BHP) is one of six elements in the Human Research Program and comprises four Risks, namely the Risk of Behavioral Conditions, the Risk of Psychiatric Disorders (BMed), the Risk of Performance Decrements due to Inadequate Cooperation, Coordination, Communication, and Psychosocial Adaptation within a Team (Team), and the Risk of Performance Errors due to Sleep Loss, Circadian De-synchronization, Fatigue, and Work Overload (Sleep).
The Team Risk is composed of four primary risk factors: cooperation, coordination, communication, and psychosocial adaptation. These primary risk factors represent the dimensions of teamwork as well as the component of individual and team adaptation to the unique spaceflight environment. Within the Team Risk, specific gaps exist that represent the areas in which critical knowledge is unknown or an adequate mitigation strategy has not yet been developed. As crews on long-duration missions are expected to have increased autonomy as a result of communication delays and other logistical constraints, Team Gap 6 focuses on identifying how issues related to increased autonomy of crewmembers may be best addressed. Within Team Gap 6, a task was supported that focused on the design, development, and implementation of a scheduling tool that would allow the crew to be more autonomous. The scheduling tool (SPIFE) was intended to give the crew the independence and control to create their own schedule in order to effectively complete their assigned tasks. SPIFE was supported by BHP and tested most recently in the NEEMO 14 environment.
The objectives of the SPIFE tool included these:
1) Provide a fully functional scheduling and planning system that can be easily used by the users and staff personnel to support both ground and flight activities.
2) Provide crewmembers with the capability to plan and organize their tasks to fit their needs in real time within given and developing constraints.
For NEEMO 14, the following were tested using the SPIFE tool:
1) ability to create and maintain the timeline schedule
2) ability to track actual duration times of scheduled activities
3) effectiveness during degraded communication (the ease with which the crew can maintain and edit their schedule with SPIFE)
Results from the data were mixed, due in part to technical difficulties. However, the above items were tested and were generally supported. Future work on the SPIFE will be focused on fine-tuning the systems and the features that are utilized with this tool as well as incorporating feedback received from the participants to improve the tool’s design and functionality.
Outcome: The Behavioral Health & Performance Research Element recommends that additional studies are not needed, and BHP will not proceed with identifying future research tasks associated with SPIFE at this time.