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Rehearsals and simulations can help to develop experience for a team preparing to support a launch.

Simulations give feedback and experiential learning to a team so they are able to make corrections and modifications to their procedural plan before the actual launch. The learning that comes from the rehearsals can be very applicable to being able to handle various contingencies that could come up during a launch. Good planning of the rehearsals can ensure that a launch team is practicing and simulating the crucial situations that could happen during the mission.

Jim Nicholson was the Chief Engineer for the Cygnus Spacecraft at Orbital ATK for the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. COTS was a NASA-industry partnership to develop safe, affordable, reliable space transportation access to low-Earth orbit. In the video clip, Nicholson talks about the experience the team went through using simulations and rehearsals ahead of launch. He provides examples of contingency simulations that helped the team perform during the mission.

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      Spend time planning for various scenarios that could happen during your mission to get your teams prepared and able to operate under stress.

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      Include simulations on abort procedures so the team is comfortable with what to do in those circumstances.

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      Rehearsals for software patching proved to be very important for fixing an issue. No matter how much software testing is done beforehand, the team should be prepared to perform a software fix.


Related Resources:

NASA APPEL Knowledge Services Courses

ASK Magazine Article: Plan, Train, and Fly

ASK Magazine Mars Rover Article: Learning to Drive


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