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Considerations for Implementing Voice-Controlled Spacecraft Systems Through a Human-Centered Design ApproachAs computational power and speech recognition algorithms improve, the consumer market will see better-performing speech recognition applications. The cell phone and Internet-related service industry have further enhanced speech recognition applications using artificial intelligence and statistical data-mining techniques. These improvements to speech recognition technology (SRT) may one day help astronauts on future deep space human missions that require control of complex spacecraft systems or spacesuit applications by voice. Though SRT and more advanced speech recognition techniques show promise, use of this technology for a space application such as vehicle/habitat/spacesuit requires careful considerations. There are still recognition challenges to overcome such as background noise, human speech variability, and task loading. However, implemented correctly, a voice-controlled spacecraft system (VCSS) can provide a useful, natural and efficient form of human-machine communications during complex tasks such as when the hands and eyes are busy or as an aid for vehicle situational awareness inquiries or collaborative human-robot tasks. This document provides considerations and guidance for the use of SRT in VCSS applications for space missions, specifically in command-and-control (C2) applications where the commanding is user-initiated. First, current SRT limitations as known at the time of this report are given. Then, highlights of SRT used in the space program provide the reader with a history of some of the human spaceflight applications and research. Next, an overview of the speech production process and the intrinsic variations of speech are provided. Finally, general guidance and considerations are given for development of a VCSS using a human-centered design approach for space applications that includes vocabulary selection and performance testing, as well as VCSS considerations for C2 dialogue management design, feedback, error handling, and evaluation/usability testing. Available from
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Salazar, George A.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
October 24, 2018
Publication Date
August 1, 2018
Subject Category
Space Communications, Spacecraft Communications, Command And Tracking
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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