The Human Research Program (HRP) was established in October 2005 at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in response to NASA's decision to move human research program management from Headquarters to the JSC and to focus its research investment on investigating and mitigating the highest risks to astronaut health and performance in support of exploration missions. Strategically, the HRP conducts research and technology development (R&TD) activities that: 1) enable the development or modification of Agency-level human health and performance standards by the Office of the Chief Health and Medical Officer (OCHMO) and 2) provide the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) with methods of meeting those standards in the design, development, and operation of mission systems.

Goals and Objectives
The HRP is an applied R&TD program that contributes to the NASA Strategic Plan, NASA Policy Directive (NPD) 1001.0C, through:

  • Strategic Goal 1: Expand human knowledge through new scientific discoveries.
    • Strategic Objective 1.2: Understand responses of physical and biological systems to spaceflight.

  • Strategic Goal 2: Extend human presence deeper into space and to the moon for sustainable long-term exploration and utilization.
    • Strategic Objective 2.2: Conduct human exploration in deep space, including to the surface of the moon.

The goal of the HRP is to provide human health and performance countermeasures, knowledge, technologies, and tools to enable safe, reliable, and productive human space exploration. The specific objectives of the HRP are:

  1. Develop capabilities, necessary countermeasures, and technologies in support of human space exploration, focusing on mitigating the highest risks to crew health and performance. Enable the definition and improvement of human spaceflight medical, environmental and human factors standards.
  2. Develop technologies that serve to reduce medical and environmental risks, to reduce human systems resource requirements (mass, volume, power, data, etc.), and to ensure effective human-system integration across exploration mission systems.
  3. Ensure maintenance of Agency core competencies necessary to enable risk reduction in the following areas: space medicine, physiological and behavioral effects of long-duration spaceflight on the human body, space environmental effects, including radiation, on human health and performance, and space human factors.

Risk Research Portfolio
Human systems risks fall within the purview of the Health and Medical Technical Authority (HMTA) under the Chief Health and Medical Officer (CHMO). The CHMO delegates the JSC Center HMTA authority to the JSC Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and delegates JSC as the Lead HMTA Integration Center for Human Spaceflight. The JSC CMO established the Human Systems Risk Board (HSRB), chaired by the JSC Human System Risk Manager, to ensure a consistent, integrated process for managing human system risks that are critical to successful human exploration. The risks are assessed at the HSRB against four program-agnostic Design Reference Mission (DRM) categories (low Earth orbit, lunar orbital, lunar orbital + surface, and Mars) for both in-mission and long-term health impacts (and flight recertification status impacts, as applicable).

The HSRB identifies high value risk mitigation targets that capture areas where there are major gaps in knowledge or capability, and other targets that support risk reduction that may be addressed by interested stakeholders such as HRP. Risks in the HRP research portfolio are a subset of human system risks identified by the HSRB that the HRP has decided to support with research. These risks are documented as requirements in the HRP-47052, Human Research Program Requirements Document (PRD).

The development of the HRP content for its risk research has been formulated around the management architecture (see
HRP Human Research Roadmap) that describes evidence (documented in HRP's risk Evidence Reports) that supports the existence of the human system risk, gaps in our knowledge about characterizing or mitigating the risk, and the research tasks to be carried out in order to produce the deliverables needed to close the gaps and reduce the risk. As deliverables and new evidence are generated, a reassessment is made of the progress in risk reduction (with risk posture updates approved at the HSRB).

The Integrated Research Plan (IRP) documents the research tasks necessary to close the gaps and the logical sequence and timing of significant tasks, milestones (such as gap closure), and completion of major deliverables as laid out in the Risk Approach Plan chart (found on each Risk page under the Risk Approach Plan" link). The Integrated Path to Risk Reduction (iPRR) is a graphical display of the long-range, strategic research plan and schedule for the risks being worked by the HRP. The iPRR is used to communicate the strategy for reducing the current HSRB risk-associated likelihood and consequence (LxC) for the DRM determined by the program. The current version of the iPRR is given in the figure below.

The Human Research Roadmap (HRR) is the web-based tool for communicating the evidence that supports the HRP risks, the IRP's R&TD activities (including the planned schedules in the Risk Approach Plan/iPRR), and reports from external panels that have reviewed the evidence or research plans. The
Figure below illustrates the integrated, or cross-disciplinary, nature of the HRP research as captured in the HRR relational database. Tasks or gaps may be associated with one or more gaps or risks, respectively.

Integrated Research Plan architecture diagram

Program Requirements
The HRP PRD defines, documents, and allocates the requirements to each of the HRP Program Elements: Exploration Medical Capability (ExMC), Human Factors and Behavioral Health (HFBP), Human Health Countermeasures (HHC), Research Operations and Integration (ROI) (as an implementing Element, no risks assigned), and Space Radiation (SR). These HRP requirements are derived to satisfy the exploration mission requirements from the HEOMD and the OCHMO, as referenced in the Space Flight Human System Standards (NASA-STD-3001) Volume 1 (Crew Health) and Volume 2 (Human Factors, Habitability and Environmental Health). In addition, NASA/SP-2010-3407, Human Integration Design Handbook (HIDH), was published as a compendium of human spaceflight history, lessons learned, and design information for a wide variety of disciplines to serve as a companion document to NASA-STD-3001, Volume 2. The NASA-STD-3001 requirements are written to communicate the information known to date regarding human spaceflight, which is applicable to a wide range of mission environments (such as microgravity in orbit, lunar surface habitation, or transit to Mars), while not limiting the space for innovation.
The HRP has three main responsibilities regarding these standards. In some cases, a NASA-STD-3001 requirement is written in generic terms to ensure its applicability to a wide range of mission environments (such as microgravity in orbit, lunar surface habitation, or transit to Mars). The HRP research can serve to inform the standard, refine the requirement, and help define processes or methods to meet the requirement. Where emerging evidence or knowledge may indicate that the standards are not written in a way that captures a complete set of relevant considerations, additional research may be conducted to facilitate an update.

Each Element, with the exception of ROI, incorporates its respective PRD requirements into its specific Element Management Plan. These Elements subsequently derive a research plan to address the requirements. ROI implements the requirements identified by the other HRP Elements for research and technology demonstration tasks that require the use of the ISS or ground analogs, as appropriate.