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VC. Mission Planning


The report contains a discussion of training, flight procedures, flight software ascent and entry envelope expansion, payload safety, and operational maintenance and inspection. Each subject was investigated to identify and highlight any problems relating to safely preparing for and executing the scheduled flight rate. 

In spite of limited resources and increasing perturbations to the planning process, 1985 was a year of significant achievement. Although only 9 flights were flown, planning for effectively 12 flights was accomplished due to remanifesting. Significant mission redesigns were accomplished to work around the tracking and data relay satellite system (TDRSS) battery failures and the SYNCOM IV-3 failure and subsequent repair. The system was operating at nearly maximum capacity. Indications are that the milestones for preparation for the 1986 flight manifest could not have been achieved. The combination of increased flight rate, lack of adequate facility and skilled manpower reserve, and production development problems precluded recovery of these milestones. Findings of problems pertaining to the aspects of mission planning investigated are summarized in the final section.

It was found that crew training has evolved into an efficient, sound process; flight procedures are mature and the number of changes per flight is decreasing; and that except for the Centaur upper stage, the payload safety review process is adequate, rigorous, and effectively works issues at all levels of NASA management.

1. Training

Training is the process of preparing National Space Transportation System (NSTS) flight crews and flight controllers to carry out an NSTS mission. The training is accomplished through the use of workbooks, computer aided instruction, briefings, single system trainers, Shuttle training aircraft (STA) and the Shuttle Mission Simulator (SMS). The SMS is used both for standalone and integrated training. Integrated simulations provide training for both the crew and flight controllers. Integrated training is either generic or flight-specific, which implies the use of a training software load for an upcoming mission with the crew and flight control teams assigned to that mission. This report will focus on the two main aspects of crew training that generated the findings summarized in the final section; i.e., training schedules and crew workload, and training facilities.