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Advanced Caution & Warning System Demonstrated To NASA Administrator
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Advanced Caution & Warning System Demonstrated To NASA Administrator

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Deputy Administrator Dava Newman, and Johnson Space Center (JSC) Director Ellen Ochoa visited the Astronaut Office’s Rapid Prototyping Lab (RPL) at JSC to observe the Orion cockpit display development and evaluation facilities being built for Orion’s Exploration Mission 2 (EM-2). The visit, hosted by former astronaut and current RPL Manager Lee Morin, emphasized agile approaches to developing and evaluating crew displays through the use of a Flight Control Room (FCR) mockup for low-cost, but realistic simulated flight operations with Crew and Flight Control Teams. A key feature of the mockup is the Advanced Caution and Warning System (ACAWS), developed for the Orion Exploration Flight Test (EFT-1) by team members from Code TI at Ames, and members from JSC, as part of the Autonomous Systems and Operations (ASO) project, which is now being adapted for the EM-2 crewed mission.

The ACAWS demonstration to the Administrator showed that, rather than “lighting up the cockpit like a Christmas tree” with multiple Caution and Warning messages when a failure occurs, the technology can provide clear and concise information about precisely what component failed and the components or functions impacted by the failure, giving the crew the information needed to take prompt recovery actions without reliance on Mission Control. Conducting crew evaluations of cockpit displays during very realistic simulated operations for nominal and emergency scenarios, with crew in the RPL cockpit in communication with a flight control team in the Flight Control Room (FCR), has led to numerous cockpit and operational improvements.

BACKGROUND: The Advanced Caution and Warning System (ACAWS) project is an element of the Autonomous Systems and Operations project under the Advanced Exploration Systems Division. The ACAWS team developed the RPL Flight Control Room for monitoring the Orion EFT-1 mission, and the Crew Office has recognized its usefulness for evaluation and training of both flight crew and flight control teams. The purpose of the Autonomous Systems and Operations project is to define vehicle capabilities, roles, and responsibilities of ground and crew, and their interactions, in order to enable NASA missions to distant destinations when communication delays preclude interactive operational decision-making between flight crew and mission control. Spacecraft autonomy for long-distance and long-duration missions into the solar system will require the kinds of intelligent systems information about failures that ACAWS provides.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: Human Exploration Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD), Advanced Exploration Systems Division

TEAM: ARC: Gordon Aaseng (ACAWS Team Lead), Eric Barszcz, Jeremy Johnson, John Ossenfort, Adam Sweet, and Henry Valdez; JSC: Jeff Fox, Lee Morin, and Matt Souris

POINT OF CONTACT: Gordon Aaseng, gordon.b.aaseng@nasa.gov

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