Theoretical & Operational Foundations for EVA

Riccio, G., McDonald, P.V., Peters, B., Layne, C., & Bloomberg, J. (1997) Understanding Skill in EVA Mass Handling: Part I. Theoretical & Operational Foundations. NASA Technical Paper 3684. Houston, TX: Lyndon B Johnson Space Center.

This report describes the theoretical and operational foundations for our analysis of skill in extravehicular mass handling. A review of our research on postural control, human-environment interactions, and exploratory behavior in skill acquisition is used to motivate our analysis. This scientific material is presented within the context of operationally valid issues concerning extravehicular mass handling.

We describe the development of meaningful empirical measures that are relevant to a special class of nested control systems: manual interactions between an individual and the substantial environment. These measures are incorporated into a unique empirical protocol implemented on NASA's principal mass handling simulator, the precision air-bearing floor, in order to evaluate skill in extravehicular mass handling. We discuss the components of such skill with reference to the relationship between postural configuration and controllability of an orbital replacement unit, the relationship between orbital replacement unit control and postural stability, the relationship between antecedent and consequent movements of an orbital replacement unit, and the relationship between antecedent and consequent postural movements.

Finally, we describe our expectations regarding the operational relevance of the empirical results as it pertains to extravehicular activity tools, training, monitoring, and planning.

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Gary Riccio

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