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Operations and Training

All human spaceflight missions are controlled out of JSC’s Mission Control Center in Houston.  The Astronaut Corps is located at the Johnson Space Center and the training for U.S. systems is conducted in simulators, classrooms, and laboratories at the Johnson Space Center.   This includes planning complex activities, data integration and management, complex integrated simulation systems, spaceflight human resource management training, real-time failure analysis, normal and malfunction procedure development, and integrated, multi-national operations of complex systems.

The Johnson Space Center has extensive facilities for testing, training and executing human space missions. These facilities can support the entire mission development cycle, from early design and ops concepts testing to training for crews and flight control teams to providing physical control room space for real-time support. JSC facilities represent the best of over 50 years of successful spaceflight along with new technology investments implemented to leverage industry solutions and provide the best platform possible for mission support.

Mission Development

The Johnson Space Center is the world leader in space operations, providing technical leadership and partner integration since 1964. With over 160 successful human space missions planned and executed, our teams have a proven record of cost effective mission planning and analysis for a variety of mission types. We provide scalable solutions to fit any size mission and infuse innovative ideas and new technologies to address unique mission needs. We have extensive expertise that can be utilized in a wide spectrum of projects or vehicles, supporting both large programs and small projects, as well as analog mission research.

Our experience with integration of spaceflight elements spans across systems, vehicles, and programs, as well as government, industry, and international partners. We have experience with configuration management of spaceflight hardware, software, facilities, plans and procedures. Our comprehensive training and certification of flight crew, operations, and instructor personnel has resulted in decades of successful human spaceflight missions. Our product development and analysis teams focus not only on nominal activities, but failures and contingencies as well.

Mission Development Capabilities:

  • Product development and verification, including mission timelines, flight rules, and crew and ground procedures
  • Analysis and modeling of vehicle performance, consumables and human / vehicle interfaces
  • Flight design of launch, orbit, and entry flight trajectories and associated risk controls
  • Operations tools design, development and testing, including onboard and ground software
  • Training curriculum development of generic vehicle and mission specific operations
  • Flight controller training in cost-effective system, integrated flight control team simulation environments
  • Mission readiness assessments
  • Safety and Risk Management

Mission Operations

The Johnson Space Center has an experienced operations team prepared for and capable of reacting to any situation, providing safety, mission success, and project flexibility. We have command and control expertise covering all phases of flight (launch, landing, orbit, rendezvous, dock/undock, reboost, berth/unberth, robotics, and spacewalks). Our teams have successfully controlled multiple spacecraft simultaneously. Our tools allow us to analyze failures, compare results, and make revisions in a timely manner.

The proven real-time decision making skills of our personnel ensure mission success. Every mission requires critical risk trades in safety, mission success, cost, and schedule. Our rapid mission timeline management allows us to quickly respond to anomalies and unplanned deviations. In addition, our comparisons of real time usage versus pre-flight predictions allow us to maximize consumables (propulsion, power, water, atmosphere, food) and optimize trajectories (orbital debris avoidance, vehicle performance, center of gravity determination, rendezvous maneuver planning).

Mission Operations Capabilities:

  • Real-time flight operations
  • Day of launch development and operations
  • Landing / recovery support
  • Timeline development and execution
  • Navigation / orbit determination
  • Collision Avoidance
  • Operations integration
  • Command and control
  • In-flight emergency response
  • Anomaly diagnosis, tracking, response and resolution

Design for Operations

The Johnson Space Center operations teams partner with spacecraft designers to reach cost-effective and sustainable solutions. We apply real operational scenarios to define and validate operations concepts. Our operability assessments help to identify a design’s operational strengths and risks, as well as the integrated effect on crew and vehicle safety. When design challenges arise our teams rely on decades of real-time human spaceflight experience to develop alternative solutions or operational workarounds.

Our real-time flight experience is also well suited for the test and verification environment. We provide test conductors and operators who apply real-time decision making skills to maximize test effectiveness and efficiency. We develop test procedures that fully exercise an integrated system’s capabilities and provide safe and effective human-machine integration. By defining baseline and minimum equipment configurations we offer a better understanding of system reliability and help ensure mission success.

Design for Operations Capabilities:

  • Operations concept and requirements development and validation
  • Multi-system integration and cross discipline systems engineering analysis
  • Mission event sequencing
  • Operational workaround development
  • Onboard and ground capability design trades
  • Command and telemetry definition
  • Power and data channelization
  • Cockpit, displays and controls design
  • Integrated launch vehicle / spacecraft design and analysis

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