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Applied Sciences (Switzerland)







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NASA’s human spaceflight efforts are moving towards long-duration exploration missions requiring asynchronous communication between onboard crew and an increasingly remote ground support. In current missions aboard the International Space Station, there is a near real-time communication loop between Mission Control Center and astronauts. This communication is essential today to support operations, maintenance, and science requirements onboard, without which many tasks would no longer be feasible. As NASA takes the next leap into a new era of human space exploration, new methods and tools compensating for the lack of continuous, real-time communication must be explored. The Human-Computer Interaction Group at NASA Ames Research Center has been investigating emerging technologies and their applicability to increase crew autonomy in missions beyond low Earth orbit. Interactions using augmented reality and the Internet of Things have been researched as possibilities to facilitate usability within procedure execution operations. This paper outlines four research efforts that included technology demonstrations and usability studies with prototype procedure tools implementing emerging technologies. The studies address habitat feedback integration, analogous procedure testing, task completion management, and crew training. Through these technology demonstrations and usability studies, we find that low-to medium-fidelity prototypes, evaluated early in the design process, are both effective for garnering stakeholder buy-in and developing requirements for future systems. In this paper, we present the findings of the usability studies for each project and discuss ways in which these emerging technologies can be integrated into future human spaceflight operations.

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National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Augmented reality, Human–computer interaction, Internet of Things, Procedure execution, Usability

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


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