NASA’s Identified Risks of Adverse Outcomes Due to Inadequate Human Systems Integration Architecture in Human Spaceflight

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Daniel BucklandMegan ParisiKaitlin MctigueShu-Chieh WuTina PanontinGordon VosDevan PetersenAlonso Vera

Abstract: The NASA Human System Risk Board (HSRB) has the overall responsibility for tracking the evolution of the top ~30 human system risks that it has identified to be associated with human spaceflight.  As part of this process, the Board is charged with maintaining a consistent, integrated process to mitigate those risks, and developing evidence-based risk posture recommendations. One of the identified risks is due to inadequate human systems integration architecture (HSIA) and a driving factor of this risk is that given decreasing real-time ground support for execution of complex operations during future exploration missions, there is a possibility of adverse performance outcomes including that crew are unable to adequately respond to unanticipated critical malfunctions or detect safety critical procedural errors. The HSRB uses Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs) as a communication tool for describing how astronaut exposure to spaceflight hazards leads to meaningful mission-level health and performance outcomes and as the basis for understanding intermediate causal relationships between risk contributing factors and countermeasures that link hazards to outcomes. The HSIA risk DAG will be presented and described. Historically, critical malfunctions requiring Crew/MCC management occurred at a rate of 1.7 times per year for ISS averaged over the lifetime and 3-4 times per year in the burn in phase for the vehicle.  These averages do not include EVA data, which greatly increases the incident rate. Prior experience from the Apollo program showed 10/11 crewed missions experienced significant anomalies where crew relied heavily on MCC expertise in real-time.  These failure patterns are in line with those observed in other complex engineered systems (e.g., oil rigs, launch systems, commercial aviation, etc.) It is likely that general malfunction and error rates are > 10% for short duration missions (<30 days), based on past and current spaceflight operations data. Likelihood of adverse outcomes has the potential to increase as crew conduct work with new, complex systems and with less ground support. For Low Earth Orbit missions and Lunar missions less than 30 days, assuming minimal comm delays, disruptions and bandwidth limitations, malfunctions and errors can affect mission objectives and crew health but may be mitigated by ground support. For Lunar missions greater than 30 days and any potential Mars mission malfunctions and errors can have Loss of Crew and Loss of Mission consequences due to reduced ground support (communication delays, constraints and blackouts) for more complex operations, as well as reduced resupply and evacuation options.

Keywords: Human Spaceflight, Automation, Human System Integration

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1001427

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