The Path to Crew Autonomy - Situational Awareness in Scheduling and Rescheduling Tasks for Novice Schedulers

Publication Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Title

Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC




Technical limitations will severely restrict communication between ground-based mission support and onboard crew in future long duration exploration-class missions (LDEM). Thus, mission support tasks like mission scheduling need to be shifted to onboard crew. Currently, crew activities are scheduled over the course of several weeks by ground-based experts with years of experience-based training. These experts display extensive amounts of situational awareness (SA) throughout scheduling by maintaining a mental model of many factors such as constraints (e.g., physical space/layout), abilities and skills of the crew, and crew preferences, allowing them to anticipate and mitigate potential issues. Thus, we propose that SA is a key component in mission scheduling, and support of SA for the onboard crew is essential when mission scheduling tasks are reallocated to non-experts. In this paper, we examine SA in novice schedulers in both scheduling and rescheduling tasks in a spaceflight-like context. Results indicate that there is no significant difference between scheduling and rescheduling tasks with regards to SA in novice schedulers. Additionally, our experiment shows that novice schedulers are less able to develop sufficient SA for constraints that are dependent on more than one activity. We propose that software aids may be useful to support novice schedulers, particularly with these constraints, and may increase SA in scheduling and rescheduling tasks. This work is vital to ensure the successful transfer of mission support tasks to the crew for future LDEM.

Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Crew Autonomy, Long-Duration Exploration-Class Missions, Scheduling, Situational Awareness


Research Foundation