Intelligent flight support system (IFSS): a real-time intelligent decision support system for future manned spaceflight operations at Mission Control Center

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The Mission Control Center Systems (MCCS) is a functionally robust set of distributed systems primarily supporting the Space Shuttle Program (SSP) and the International Space Station (ISS) mission operations. Forged around the uniquely complex and demanding requirements of human spaceflight, the MCCS has evolved within the limits of the technological capabilities of the time. The dynamic environment in which MCCS functions has demanded that the systems architecture continue to evolve as well.

The MCCS provides the primary means of controlling crewed spacecraft operated by NASA. Flight controllers (FCs) monitor the spacecraft systems through telemetry sent from the spacecraft to the ground and from the ground to the vehicle. FCs utilize several application software to present telemetry data in a variety of output presentations. While most displays simply provide a densely packed screen of telemetry data, only a few provide graphical representations of the vehicle systems' status. New technological advances in user interface design have not penetrated into MCC especially since the SSP and ISS systems were developed when these technologies were not available. The Intelligent Flight Support System (IFSS) described in this paper promotes situational awareness at MCC with an interactive virtual model of the ISS and Space Shuttle combined with data and decision support displays. IFSS also incorporates an intelligent component to model various characteristics of space vehicle systems when predictable results of unknown scenarios are required. IFSS supports FCs in the planning, communications, command, and control operations of the ISS and Space Shuttle by providing knowledge and skills that are unavailable from internal representation.




Tavana, M. (2004) ‘Intelligent Flight Support System (IFSS): A Real-time Intelligent Decision Support System for Future Manned Spaceflight Operations at Mission Control Center,’ Advances in Engineering Software, Vol. 35, No. 5, pp. 301-313.