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# NASA Scheduling Problem

NASA's astronaut crew currently includes 10 mission specialists who hold a Ph.D. in either astrophysics or astromedicine.

One of these specialists will be assigned to each of the 10 flights scheduled for the upcoming 9 months. Mission specialists are responsible for carrying out scientific and medical experiments in space or for launching, retrieving, or repairing satellites. The chief of astronaut personnel, himself a former crew member with three missions under his belt, must decide who should be assigned and trained for each of the very different missions. Clearly, astronauts with medical educations are more suited to missions involving biological or medical experiments, whereas those with engineering- or physics-oriented degrees are best suited to other types of missions.

The chief assigns each astronaut a rating on a scale of 1 to 10 for each possible mission, with a 10 being a perfect match for the task at hand and a 1 being a mis-match. Only one specialist is assigned to each flight, and none is reassigned until all others have flown at least once.

a) Who should be assigned to each flight?

b) We have just been notified that Anderson is getting married in February and he has been granted a highly sought publicity tour in Europe that month. (He intends to take his wife and let the trip double as a honeymoon.) How does this change the final schedule?

c) Certo has complained that he was misrated on his January mission. Both ratings should be 10's, he claims to the chief, who agrees and recomputes the schedule. Do any changes occur over the schedule set in part (b)?

d) What are the strengths and weaknesses of this approach to scheduling?

#### Solution Preview

Astronaut Jan. 12 Jan. 27 Feb. 5 Feb. 26 Mar. 26 Apr. 12 May 1 Jun. 9 Aug. 20 Sep. 19
Vincze 9 7 2 1 10 9 8 9 2 6
Veit 8 8 3 4 7 9 7 7 4 4
Anderson 2 1 10 10 1 4 7 6 6 7
Herbert 4 4 10 9 9 9 1 2 3 4
Schatz 10 10 9 9 8 9 1 1 1 1
Plane 1 3 5 7 9 7 10 10 9 2
Certo 9 9 8 8 9 1 1 2 2 9
Moses 3 2 7 6 4 3 9 7 7 9
Brandon 5 4 5 9 10 10 5 4 9 8
Drtina 10 10 9 7 6 7 5 4 8 8

NASA's astronaut crew currently includes 10 mission specialists who hold a Ph.D. in either astrophysics or astromedicine. One of these specialists will be assigned to each of the 10 flights scheduled for the upcoming 9 months. Mission specialists are responsible for carrying out scientific and medical experiments in space or for launching, retrieving, or repairing satellites. The chief of astronaut personnel, himself a former crew member with three missions under his belt, must decide who should be assigned and trained for each of the very different missions. Clearly, astronauts with medical educations are more suited to missions involving biological or medical experiments, whereas those with engineering- or ...

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