Phase II: A Scientific Approach to Crew Rest and Duty Restrictions in Commercial Space Flight – CL08-AERO

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Phase II: A Scientific Approach to Crew Rest and Duty Restrictions in Commercial Space Flight – CL08-AERO

This project studies the impact of shiftwork on a process


Federal Aviation Administration (Aerospace)

Research Team:

Scott Shappell, Jaclyn Baron, Michael Sawyer, Paris F. Stringfellow, Rebecca Iden, Katie Berry

Universities Involved:

Clemson University

Start Date:


End Date:



This report reviews the impact of shiftwork on commercial space transportation. Included in the review is an overview of shiftwork and recommendations for commercial space transportation.
Phase II: Like aviation and other areas of the transportation industry, the commercial space industry will at some point operate with a 24-hour, 7-day per week flight schedule. As such, it is reasonable to predict that many of the same shift work, night work, and irregular/unpredictable work schedules that influence traditional aircrews and transportation industry personnel will also impact those venturing into space. Given the unique and unforgiving nature of space flight, it is imperative that rules regulating human performance in spaceflight be supported by state-of-the art scientific and operational knowledge. Particularly important to this project are the crew rest and duty restrictions recommended for commercial human space flight.

The body of scientific knowledge regarding how shift work impacts sleep architecture, vigilance, and performance has grown significantly in the last few decades. From studies in the field to those in the laboratory and simulators, our scientific understanding of how flight crew and ground operations personnel are affected by sleep loss and crew rest resulting from current flight and duty practices has changed markedly. It makes sense then that incorporating current scientific knowledge of fatigue into commercial space operations (e.g., regulatory scheduling considerations, personal strategies, fatigue counter measures) would greatly benefit safety.