|I work at NASA creating procedures for spacewalks (EVAs). Typically these procedures include 2 astronauts working outside the space station (called EV1 and EV2), plus a robotics operator inside, and other actions taken by mission control on the ground. All of this is happening in parallel. Sometimes EV1 may be working on a task where all the steps can be done independent of what EV2 is doing, while other times their steps are heavily intertwined. The same goes for robotic and mission control steps.|
Currently we write these procedures in Microsoft Word. A procedure is basically a big table, with each column of the table being the steps for each entity. So EV1's steps are in one column, EV2's in another, and so on. If EV2 has a step that has to come after one of EV1's steps, then we make sure that the later step is lower on the page than the earlier step. All of this requires a lot of formatting in Word, and we spend too much time dealing with the formatting aspect. Most of these procedures are text with ordered and unordered lists, but there are also images and diagrams.
What I'm looking for:
- A better method for writing procedures with multiple people working in parallel
- Ability to easily see (and diff) the entire revision history
- Allow multiple editors. Not necessarily Google Docs-type multiple editors, though. Instead I imagine the procedure would reference individual documents as sub-procedures, and those could further reference more sub-procedures. So each editor could be revising smaller portions of the same spacewalk procedure, but not the same portion at the same time...so a lot like software development.
- Bonus if it can also help manage the location of hardware and tools as they're used throughout the spacewalk
Is there any such software in existence? If not, is anyone interested in creating such a thing? I'm not sure how much applicability outside spacewalks there this, but there has to be some.