A Human Factors Evaluation of the Space Shuttle Cockpit Avionics Upgrade
Westenhaver, Michael S.
Schmidt, John K.
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During the late 90s, NASA retrofitted the Space Shuttle fleet with a glass cockpit. The new displays replicated legacy formats developed in the 70s, and did not leverage 20 years of display technology and human factors advances. To address this shortcoming the Cockpit Avionics Upgrade (CAU) was initiated to reduce mental workload (MW), increase situational awareness (SA), and enhance performance. Despite the CAU demonstrating improvements in MW, SA, and performance, it was cancelled. Consequently, recorded astronaut data from using the baseline and CAU cockpit configurations was never tied back to cockpit design. This study assesses the CAU design employing human factors principles, evaluates baseline and CAU simulation data, and traces MW and SA differences back to CAU design modifications. Significant improvements were found in all measures and across all conditions. These improvements were found to be greater for ascent scenarios than for entry. From the findings, recommendations for the design and evaluation of future spacecraft cockpits are made.
Human Systems Integration Report
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