The Use of Human Modeling of EVA Tasks as a Systems Engineering Tool 2001-01-2161
Computer-generated human models have been used in aerospace design for more than a decade. They have come to be highly reliable for worksite analysis of certain types of EVA tasks. In many design environments, this analysis comes after the structural design is largely complete. However, the use of these models as a development tool is gaining acceptance within organizations that practice good systems engineering processes. The design of the United States Propulsion Module for the International Space Station provides an example of this application. The Propulsion Module will provide augmentation to the propulsion capability supplied by the Russian Service Module Zvezda. It is a late addition to the set of modules provided by the United States to the ISS Program, and as a result, faces design challenges that result from the level of immaturity of its integration into the Station. Among these are heat dissipation and physical envelopes. Since the rest of the Station was designed to maximize the use of the cooling system, little margin is available for the addition of another module. The Propulsion Module will attach at the forward end of the Station, and will be between the Orbiter and the rest of ISS. Since cargo must be removed from the Payload Bay and transferred to Station by the Canadarm, there is a potential for protrusions from the module, such as thruster booms, to interfere with robotic operations. These and similar engineering issues must be addressed as part of the development. In the implementation of good system design, all design solutions should be analyzed for compatibility with all affected subsystems. Human modeling has been used in this project to provide rapid input to system trades of design concepts. For example, the placement of radiators and avionics components for optimization of heat dissipation had to be examined for feasibility of EVA translation paths and worksite development. Likewise, the location of and mechanism for the retraction of thruster booms was partly driven by available Orbiter, robotic arm, and other module envelopes; worksite analysis was required for early assessment of task success. Since these trade studies included the EVA analysis as part of the decision criteria, the design had a high degree of assurance of EVA supportability from the outset. This approach contributes greatly to mission success.