About the HCI Group

What we do

The HCI Group builds custom software applications that support mission operations and science planning for both manned and unmanned missions.

In the past, the HCI Group has worked on projects to plan science missions for Mars and to ensure the safety and reliability of the shuttle and the International Space Station. Smaller projects aimed at improving the day-to-day functions of individual NASA centers and new work aimed to improve flight reviews and hardware delivery are currently underway.

Apart from designing and developing brand new software tools, the HCI Group provides a number of valuable services, including requirements gathering, software architecture consulting, and data integration work to other NASA organizations.

Group members have backgrounds in:

  • Computer Science
  • Software Engineering
  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Science
  • Neuroscience
  • Anthropology


The Schedule and Planning Interface for Exploration (SPIFe) team is one of two teams housed within the Human-Computer Interaction Group at NASA Ames Research Center. The team designs, develops, and deploys software tools dedicated to meeting the operational challenges of NASA's human and robotic space missions. The SPIFe team has over a decade of experience developing a variety of tools that have supported various NASA missions and programs, including: International Space Station (ISS), Lunar Atmosphere Dust and Environment Explorer (LADEE), Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS), Mars Phoenix Lander, MSL Curiosity, Mars 2020 Perseverance, and numerous spaceflight analogs. The team works closely with the various divisions within NASA Ames, as well as through cross-center collaboration efforts with other NASA centers, such as Johnson Space Center (JSC) and Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL).

Selected awards

  • Connected Autonomous Smart Aerospace Systems Team (2019)
  • Mission Assurance Systems (MAS) Team (2019)
  • Playbook for Crew Autonomous Scheduling Test (CAST) (2017)
  • Software Release Award for Open Scheduling and Planning Interface for Exploration (OpenSPIFe) (2014)
  • ISS Power Planning and Analysis Tool (PLATO) Team (2013)
  • ISS Hazard Analysis Software Group (2013)
  • The Score Activity Planning Tool Team (2012)
  • Planning and Analysis Tool (PLATO) Team (2011)
  • Constellation Group Achievement Award, Acceptance Data Package Software (2011)
  • ISS Group Achievement Award, Mission Assurance System Failure Modes Effect Analysis Software (2011)
  • Constellation Group Achievement Award, Certification of Flight Readiness Software (2010)