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An analysis of space shuttle countdown activities :preliminaries to a computational model of the NASA Test Director Bonnie E. John, Roger W. Remington, David M. Steier.
journal contributionposted on 2001-08-01, 00:00 authored by Bonnie Elizabeth. John, Roger W. Remington, D. M. Steier
Abstract: "Before we hear the familiar phrase 'All systems are go' just prior to the launch of a space shuttle, thousands of operations and tests have been performed to ensure that all shuttle and support subsystems are operational and ready for launch. These steps, which range from activating the orbiter's flight computers to removing the launch pad from the itinerary of the NASA tour buses, are carried out by launch team members at various locations and with highly specialized fields of expertise. The responsibility for coordinating these diverse activities rests with the NASA Test Director (NTD) at Kennedy Space Center.We are studying the behavior of the NTD with the goal of building a detailed computational model of that behavior; this paper describes the results of our analysis to date. We describe the NTD's performance in detail, as a team member who must coordinate a complex task though efficient audio communication, as well as an individual taking notes and consulting manuals. A model of the routine cognitive skills employed by the NTD to follow the launch countdown procedure manual has been implemented using the Soar cognitive architecture. The paper concludes with several examples of how such a model could aid in evaluating proposed computer support systems."