The ISS TCS System Manager Experience
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The experience of being a System Manager (SM) during the early years of the International Space Station (ISS) Program is probably similar to the experience a future SM will have in an international exploration or commercial space program. Thus; it is relevant to provide an overview of the ISS Thermal Control System (TCS) SM experience to inform future SMs of the scope and nature of the role. Overviews of the connection to the Space Station Freedom (SSF) Program and the political environment at the start of the ISS program are provided. The scope of the ISS Thermal Control System SM role is then described via the system architecture. How the ISS program was initiated, what the SM roles were and how those roles evolved as the program proceeded are addressed as are interactions with US contractors, NASA centers, and International Partners (IPs). The SM involvement with the Russian Mir Program is described with some of the lessons learned during that NASA/Russian program. The interactions with IPs is described with several anecdotes of how interacting with counterparts in Russia, Europe and Japan was accomplished. Several challenges to the technical content of the TCS system are provided as examples of how the ISS TCS design evolved to address problems. Finally, some lessons learned are provided along with recommendations on how to prepare to be a SM for a future program.