Monday, June 11, 2012

Alion Wins $1.2M NASA Contract to Predict Effects of Astronaut Fatigue

MCLEAN, Virginia -- During human space missions, the crew and ground personnel must function under high stress and workload, often with disrupted sleep patterns. Astronauts sometimes suffer from sleep deprivation during long spaceflight missions, which could potentially have an adverse effect on performance. Alion Science and Technology, an employee-owned, engineering, R&D, IT and operational solutions company, was awarded a $1.2 million contract from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to develop a model-based software tool to predict the effects of astronaut fatigue on performance, particularly during workload transitions. 


Under the three-year Space Performance Research Integration Tool (S-PRINT) project, Alion will develop human performance models to predict astronaut performance in various automation failure situations. Although long-duration spaceflights include highly automated systems, astronauts need to remain alert, particularly during a potential automation failure situation. In such a worst-case scenario, fatigue, complacency due to over-reliance on automation, and sudden workload transitions could create a challenging spaceflight mission. 


Alion's work consists of three phases: a literature review and meta-analyses phase for gathering data and quantifying long-duration mission effects on performance; model and tool development; and human-in-the-loop studies to evaluate and refine model predictions and address gaps identified in the meta-analyses. The human-in-the-loop studies will be conducted at Colorado State University. 


"Alion's human performance models will help NASA enhance astronaut performance by predicting the effects of fatigue on performance during automation mode transitions," said Terri Spoonhour, Alion Senior Vice President and Manager of the Distributed Simulation Group. "S-PRINT will provide NASA with a method to evaluate and compare the effects of potential countermeasures to maintain optimal astronaut performance in long-duration space missions." 


The contract runs until March 31, 2015. 


About Alion Science and Technology 

Alion Science and Technology delivers advanced engineering and technology solutions to strengthen national defense, homeland security, energy generation and the environment. Building on 75 years of R&D experience, Alion combines engineering expertise with operational experience and unique technologies to bring insight to multiple business areas: Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering; Defense Operations; Modeling & Simulation; and Engineering Design & Integration. Based in McLean, Virginia, Alion employee-owners are located at major offices, customer sites and laboratories worldwide. For more information, visit Alion online at www.alionscience.com . 


This press release contains information about management's view of Alion's future expectations, plans and prospects that constitute forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements as a result of a variety of risk factors and uncertainties discussed in documents periodically filed by Alion with the SEC. Due to such uncertainties and risks, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. 


SOURCE: Alion Science and Technology Corporation