Analysis and Optimization of Test Plans for Advanced Exploration Systems Reliability and Supportability



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50th International Conference on Environmental Systems


Future crewed exploration missions beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO) will operate farther from Earth and be logistically isolated for longer than any previous human spaceflight mission. Under these conditions, supportability and reliability will be stronger drivers of mission mass and risk than they have been in the past. Items with high failure rates, or uncertain failure rates, can result in high spares mass requirements and/or high risk on deep space missions. Testing is a critical element of system development which provides the opportunity to identify and resolve design issues, defects, or other failure modes before they cause problems during a mission. Reliability growth programs can reduce failure rates by identifying and remove failure modes via design changes, and long-duration life testing can provide valuable data to reduce failure rate estimate uncertainty and verify (to some level of confidence) that components are as reliable as expected. Testing activities take time and resources, however, and must be incorporated into program plans in order to be fully effective. This paper presents an integrated reliability test plan analysis and optimization methodology, which has been used to inform Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Life Support Systems (LSS) ground test planning for future missions. The methodology determines the optimal number of test units to purchase and allocation of test time � split between reliability growth and uncertainty reduction testing � across a given set of items in order to minimize spares mass for a given mission under constraints on total test cost and schedule. Model outputs also include expected spares mass after testing and the expected number of modifications or refurbishments during testing, both of which can inform program planning. Discussion of the model, conclusions, and future work are also presented.


Andrew Owens, NASA
William Cirillo, NASA
Nicole Piontek, Binera, Inc.
Chel Stromgren, Binera, Inc.
Jason Cho, Binera, Inc.
ICES511: Reliability for Space Based Systems
The 50th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held virtually on 12 July 2021 through 14 July 2021.


Testing, Reliability, Supportability, Human Exploration, Environmental Control and Life Support Systems