Case Study

Training NASA Astronauts on Aircraft Maintenance

DynCorp International team members working in support of NASA participated in an innovative training program designed to teach astronauts basic aircraft maintenance skills for use on long duration space missions on the International Space Station (ISS).

As part of the ISS Field Maintenance Training program, trainees performed aviation maintenance tasks for an average of 30 to 35 hours per week, rotating for a week each on the hangar floor, specialty shops (engine, sheet metal, hydraulics), and avionics shop. Their focus included performing mechanical, hydraulic and electrical repair actions on NASA T-38 aircraft and equipment, under close supervision by many of DI’s most experienced and knowledgeable mechanics. Throughout the program, astronaut trainees were exposed to numerous repair tasks directly applicable to those needed by crews on the ISS.

Not all astronauts necessarily have backgrounds that include hands-on mechanical, electrical or tool-use aptitudes. Therefore, DI team members provided valuable verbal instruction about tool use, troubleshooting concepts, technical data and maintenance safety, all of which are reinforced with hands-on instruction with a variety of common or specialized tools.

Astronauts from the U.S., Japan and Europe have completed the training program, as well as members of the United Space Alliance (USA) Mission Operations Directorate (MOD) support team.