Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Michael E. Miller, PhD


The Department of Defense needs better tools to support its operators as they strive to defend its space assets. The growing sophistication of anti-satellite weapons increasingly challenges the nation’s orbital communications and surveillance infrastructure. Operators face difficulties gathering useful information and dealing with the complexity of potential enemy actions. This research applied cognitive systems engineering and ecological interface design (EID) methodologies to create a prototype space mission management tool that enhances operator situation awareness and decision-making ability. Applied cognitive task analysis interviews were used to document space operator decision-making in their domain. Model-based systems engineering was applied to integrate work domain concepts into system models. EID methods were applied to inform user interface designs that support high-level decision making in addition to low-level tasks. User interface concepts were developed using rapid prototyping software, Axure 9.0, to satisfy the system requirements. The software prototypes were shown to space operators and assessed for validity. This process demonstrated how cognitive systems engineering can be used to derive system requirements and create system designs, the elements of which can be captured in a systems model and traced to operator goals, resulting in systems that are more capable of supporting operator needs in challenging environments.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number