A Case for Waste Fraud and Abuse: Stopping the Air Force from Purchasing Spacecraft That Fail Prematurely
Launch Vehicle Failure
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AbstractSpacecraft and launch vehicle reliability is dominated by premature equipment failures and surprise equipment failures that increase risk and decrease safety, mission assurance and effectiveness. Large, complex aerospace systems such as aircraft, launch vehicle and satellites are first subjected to most exhaustive and comprehensive acceptance testing program used in any industry and yet suffer from the highest premature failure rates. Desired/required spacecraft equipment performance is confirmed during factory testing using telemetry, however equipment mission life requirement is not measured but calculated manually and so the equipment that will fail prematurely are not identified and replaced before use. Spacecraft equipment mission-life is not measured and confirmed before launch as performance is but calculated using stochastic equations from probability reliability analysis engineering standards such as MIL STD 217. The change in the engineering practices used to manufacture and test spacecraft necessary to identify the equipment that will fail prematurely include using a prognostic and health management (PHM) program. A PHM includes using predictive algorithms to convert equipment telemetry into a measurement of equipment remaining usable life. A PHM makes the generation, collection, storage and engineering and scientific analysis of equipment performance data "mission critical" rather than just nice-to-have engineering information.
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