Key elements of space operations are procedures and processes. This affects all domains of spaceflight, whether human space flight, satellite operations, scientific experimentation, standardization, interoperability, or services.
In human space flight, during Dr Kass’s long career as a space scientist, industrial space engineer, and at ESA, he has collected broad experience in the domain of process and procedures. This domain has been extremely complex because of the participative collaboration of several large space agencies, such as NASA, ESA and the Russian Space Agency in joint human missions. Dr Kass headed operations teams on behalf of the European scientists for the entire physiological experiments carried out in collaboration with NASA in two Spacelab missions, as well as for biological experiments on a third Shuttle mission. He was in charge of crew procedures, baseline data collection and flight operations for all these experiments. This involved deep knowledge of NASA’s processes and procedures, on the one hand to ensure compliance with safety rules and standards, and on the other hand to ensure that operational changes proceeded smoothly through the many stages of the process of approval. He also gained valuable experience (as part of the industrial team) on the MIR-97 mission, which involved NASA, the German Space Agency on board the MIR station. The processes and procedures peculiar to the Russian hosts had to be carefully taken into account. Because this mission encountered several severe challenges (a fire and a collision), both of which affected the Medex facility for which Dr Kass and his team were responsible, this added to the valuable experience.
Dr Kass was also actively involved in the establishment of ESA’s commercialization programme, where procedures and processes had to be set up from scratch. Studying similar processes of the other major space agencies was part and parcel of the work. Dr Kass was not only involved in human spaceflight activities, but also in setting up ESA’s first Integrated Applications Promotion (IAP) programme. His work in the DG’s task force and in the early days of the programme involved helping with setting up the process and procedures for this unique programme.
Dr Kass’s experience in processes encompasses as well non-space activities, e.g. as he participated as a founding member of the Telemedicine Alliance. This group, which uniquely involved three prominent international agencies, the European Space Agency (ESA), the World Health Organization (WHO), and International Telecommunication Union (ITU), were tasked by the European Commission to investigate the domain of eHealth in Europe and the related challenges of interoperability and standardization. A key part of this work involved investigating processes and standards in related services and technologies across Europe. In the course of this work Dr Kass participated in various working groups, such as NATO’s COMEDS Telemedicine Panel - TMED (subgroup of COMEDS: Committee of the chiefs of the military MEDical Services in NATO) and the e-Health Standardization Coordination Group (eHSCG), which is a platform to promote stronger coordination amongst the key players in all technical areas of e-health standardization.
Lastly: Dr Kass contributed to the standardization work of the ECSS, European Cooperation for Space Standardization, including work on the processes involved for approving, adapting, adopting and publishing standards. He also participated in formulating the procedures and fine-tuning the processes for ESA’s Lessons Learned System.