Using Analog Telemetry to Measure Usable Life Invasively on the Air Force's Next Generation Reusable Space Booster Equipment
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AbstractMeasuring and confirming equipment usable life that passes dynamic environmental factory acceptance testing (ATP) will ensure no equipment will fail prematurely increasing safety and mission assurance on the Air Force's Next Generation Reusable Space Booster (NGRSB). The same analog telemetry generated and analyzed during ATP used to measure and confirm equipment performance per the procurement contract can serve both purposes. Since the NGRSB payload lift requirement is the same as the EELV, the need for exotic combinations of reusable and throwaway components is unnecessary unless they yield new level of reliability, maintainability and supportability. A prognostics and health management (PHM) program exploits the presence of non-repeatable transient events (NRTE) (a.k.a. accelerated aging) that is missed during any engineering analysis in equipment analog telemetry to calculate equipment remaining usable life/mission life. Without an invasive physical measurement of equipment usable life, satellite and launch vehicle equipment reliability is dominated by premature equipment failures. If the Air Force continues to calculate NGRSB equipment mission life on paper, the NGRSB equipment reliability will also be dominated by infant mortality failures just as all expendable launch vehicle equipment is. The Air Force's, Markov-based reliability paradigm used to procure Air Force satellites and launch vehicles, results in space mission infant mortality failure rate as high as 25%/year. According to the Aerospace Corporation, Air Force space vehicle equipment that passes both equipment level and vehicle level ATP has a 70% likelihood of failing prematurely within 45 days after arriving in space. If a PHM is used on the NGRSB, it stops premature failures and lowers life overall cycle cost providing superior reliability, maintainability, supportability and availability for future Air Force space missions that are too important and too expensive to fail prematurely.
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