McDonald, P.V., Riccio, G., Peters, B., Layne, C., & Bloomberg, J. (1997) Understanding Skill in EVA Mass Handling: Part II. Empirical Investigation. NASA Technical Paper 3684. Houston, TX: Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.
In this report we describe the details of our empirical protocol for investigating skill in extravehicular mass handling using NASA's principal mass handling simulator, the precision air bearing floor. Contents of this report include a description of the necessary modifications to the mass handling simulator; choice of task, and the description of an operationally relevant protocol.
Our independent variables are presented in the context of the specific operational issues they were designed to simulate. The explanation of our dependent variables focuses on the specific data processing procedures used to transform data from common laboratory instruments into measures that are relevant to a special class of nested control systems (discussed in Volume I): manual interactions between an individual and the substantial environment. The data reduction is explained in the context of the theoretical foundation described in Volume I.
Finally, as a preface to the presentation of the empirical data in Volume III of this report series, a set of detailed hypotheses is presented.