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Human Exploration and Operations

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Human Exploration and Operations at NASA

NASA astronaut Sunita Williams on a spacewalk outside of the International Space StationThe Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Mission Directorate provides the Agency with leadership and management of NASA space operations related to human exploration in and beyond low-Earth orbit. HEO also oversees low-level requirements development, policy, and programmatic oversight. The International Space Station, currently orbiting the Earth with a crew of six, represents the NASA exploration activities in low-Earth orbit.

Exploration activities beyond low Earth orbit include the management of Commercial Space Transportation, Exploration Systems Development, Human Space Flight Capabilities, Advanced Exploration Systems, and Space Life Sciences Research & Applications.

The directorate is similarly responsible for Agency leadership and management of NASA space operations related to Launch Services, Space Transportation, and Space Communications in support of both human and robotic exploration programs.

HEO Library

The HEO library contains links to directorate, program and project documents, as well as historical events and activities.



Reports: Read reports and documents on a variety of exploration-related topics.
 › Read HEO reports here 

Featured Reports:


Advisory Committees and Boards: Internal and external advisory groups that provide advice to HEO.


Conferences and Workshops: Speeches and materials from Exploration conferences, workshops, and forums.
› View Conferences and Workshops


Strategic Knowledge Gaps: Gaps in knowledge or information required to reduce risk, increase effectiveness, and improve the design of robotic and human space exploration missions.
› Learn more about Strategic Knowledge Gaps


Risk and Knowledge Management: Case studies and lessons learned to aid program and project managers in improving work processes and making risk-informed decisions.
› Risk and Knowledge Management Case Studies


National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Activities: NASA has conducted a review of the Constellation PEIS and ROD in the context of the Orion MPCV and SLS programs. View the PEIS, 2008 ROD and 2011 Modified ROD.
› SLS and Orion MPCV National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Activities


Commercial Space Transportation Library: Newsletters, milestone reports, agreements and other documents relating to commercial crew and cargo development.
› Read more

Page Last Updated: March 25th, 2014
Page Editor: Jennifer Wiles