Relying on Telemetry for Mission Critical Decisions: Lessons Learned from NASA's Reusable Launch Vehicle for Use on the Air Force's Next Generation Reusable Launch Vehicle
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AbstractThe U.S. Air Force's next generation reusable booster (NGRSB) offers the opportunity for the Space Command to use intelligent equipment for decision making replacing personnel, increasing safety and mission assurance by removing decisions from program management personnel who may not have had any flight-test experience. Adding intelligence to launch vehicle and spacecraft equipment may include requiring the builder to use a prognostic and health management (PHM) program. The PHM was added to NASA's aircraft programs in 2009 and we have requested NASA HQ and NASA Marshal Space Flight Center adopt the NASA PHM in the procurement contracts used on the new Space Launch Systems, NASA's congressionally mandated replacement for the Space Shuttle. Space Vehicle Program managers often make decisions for on-orbit spacecraft without ever having on-orbit space flight experience. Intelligent equipment would have eliminated the catastrophic failures on the NASA Space Shuttle Challenger and Columbia. These accidents occurred due to the lack of space vehicle subsystem engineering personnel analyzing real-time equipment telemetry presented on strip chart and video data prior to lift off during pre-launch checkout for the Space Shuttle Challenger and the lack of space vehicle real-time equipment telemetry for Columbia. The PHM requires all equipment to include analog telemetry for measuring the equipment performance and usable life determination in real-time and a prognostic analysis completed manually will identify the equipment that will fail prematurely for replacement before launch preventing catastrophic equipment failures that may cause loss of life.
SponsorsInternational Foundation for Telemetering