Flight Systems

The Flight Systems Branch provides robotic systems management, analysis, and engineering support for robotic systems, robotic mechanical/ electrical interfaces and workstation simulation interfaces for robotic operations that occur in extreme environments.

The Flight Systems Branch also provides countermeasure system management and engineering support for reduced and microgravity exercise equipment and the supporting hardware/software that sustains a humanís health in environments in and beyond low earth orbit.

At A Glance


Our Expertise

●  ER3 provides System Management expertise for robotic and crew exercise (countermeasure) equipment on-board the International Space Station (ISS), providing engineering support, analysis, and sustainment of the flight hardware.
●  Our engineers interface with the ISS Program, International Partners, Commercial vehicles, and Human Health experts amongst NASA centers to integrate their needs and interactions with the flight hardware we develop and maintain.

Our Role in Flight Projects

●  As robotic system and subsystem managers, ER3 assists external payload customers with payload robotic interface design and verification; providing them with understanding and guidance to meeting the requirements placed on them.
●  Our countermeasure engineers work with human health personnel and crew to not only maintain but continually improve the exercise equipment on orbit and to provide lessons learned and insights into the design of future exercise equipment.

What We Need

●  Accurate payload, hardware interface, and system models/simulations.
●  Requirement documents, payload and interface testing/verification plans, and operational (trending) data with respect to our flight systems.

Challenges We Face

●  Loads imparted on crew, vehicle, and hardware during system operations which is why testing and analysis is a critical function.
●  Exercise equipment not being considered as a system in future exploration vehicle design.

When We Engage

●  ER3 engages whenever there is a flight system anomaly on-orbit, when a new payload/hardware that will interface with our system is receiving requirements, and whenever an evaluation of a future capability is needed.

Points of Contact

POC Role Email
Phillip Callen Branch Chief
Kerrie Rafalik Deputy Branch Chief


     Robotics Systems    

Robotic Systems

The Robotics Systems experts at NASA/JSC provide systems engineering, development, integration, and testing of robotic hardware and software technologies for robotic systems applications. We work with customers to refine robotic requirements, interfaces, and concept of operations. Our analysis capabilities include failed capture clearances and robotic hardware and payload load assessments during capture and berthing activities. Our simulated robotic workstation capability provides 3D scenes from the operatorís point of view overlaid with dynamic graphics showing vital information such as approach corridor and abort boundaries, allowing full interactive control of cameras, robotic arms, end effectors, and visiting vehicle/payload commands.

Areas of Expertise

●  Design and development of robotic interfaces.
●  Robotic interface and system requirements definition and verification.
●  Robotic capture and berthing analysis of free-flying vehicles.
●  Development, simulation and verification of robotic workstation operatorís overlays.
●  Robotic systems anomaly investigation, trouble shooting, and resolution.


Countermeasures System

The Countermeasures System experts at NASA/JSC provide systems engineering for microgravity exercise devices and support equipment to ensure crew health and safety. Our system engineering support includes functional architecture definition, concept of operations, development and management of requirements and interfaces, design integration, verification and validation, and flight certification.

As the Subject Matter Experts for on-orbit exercise systems, we sustain the current suite of exercise (recumbent bike, treadmill, resistive exercise) devices and monitoring (Heart Rate Monitor, Blood Pressure and ECG) equipment by reducing maintenance, addressing obsolescence, and increasing reliability through creative engineering solutions.

Areas of Expertise

●  Design and development of human health interfaces.
●  Zero gravity countermeasure systems: aerobic and resistive exercise devices.
●  Crew health system concept of operations, requirements definition and verification.
●  Flight Systems anomaly investigation, trouble shooting, and resolution.
    Countermeasures System Treadmill

     Exploration Exercise    

Exploration Exercise

The Exploration Exercise System Management experts at NASA/JSC enable human exploration mission success by developing and managing systems of exercise and monitoring capabilities that contribute to the effective sustainment of crews' physical condition in all crewed environments beyond Low Earth Orbit.

We perform research and development and stay current on the latest technology advances to continuously evolve innovative exercise capabilities for long duration exploration-class vehicles and habitats that:

●  Significantly reduce mass, volume, and power consumption compared to ISS,
●  Improve reliability and modularity to minimize sparing logistics and crew time required for maintenance,
●  Have intuitive operational interfaces,
●  Integrate multiple exercise modalities and other exercise benefits (e.g. sensorimotor, monitoring), and
●  Integrate other non-exercise functions where appropriate (e.g. augmentation, rehabilitation).