Improving Reliability and Maintainability (R&M) in Space Life Support
MetadataShow full item record
This paper considers how to improve the reliability and maintainability (R&M) of future NASA space life support systems. If these systems are procured under an industry contract, defining the R&M requirements would take precedence over providing technical guidance on designing the system. Imposing a specific R&M design could be over constraining. However, the mission may define the overall R&M approach, as the International Space Station (ISS) did by requiring Orbital Replacement Units (ORUs). Before defining the R&M requirements and approach for the next mission, the life support research program should understand and plan the R&M approach. The recent NASA technical standard on R&M has moved away from requiring specific R&M activities during each of the traditional project phases to instead developing and planning to implement the R&M requirements to meet the top level project R&M objectives. The emphasis is on providing the evidence to show that the R&M requirements are met, rather than on conducting the usual prescribed R&M activities. The technical standard on R&M defines a comprehensive hierarchy of specific R&M objectives and identifies particular strategies to implement them at each level. That is, the top level R&M objective is defined and then one or more design strategies to implement it are developed immediately, before the next lower objectives are defined and the strategies to achieve those are designed. This step-by-step top-down approach is similar to the axiomatic design method. The objectives are the R&M requirements, and the strategies are the hardware designs or operations plans developed to meet these requirements. The new R&M process is aligned with the systems design process and helps ensure that the methods to meet the R&M requirements are built into the design.