Spacecraft reliability and multi-state failure analysis

Research in this area has been conducted along the three directions shown in the figure below (at the system level, the spacecraft subsystem level, and the network level).

Health scorecard of GEO spacecraft platforms
Electric power subsystem, reliability and multi-state failures (LEO vs GEO)
Attitude control subsystem, reliability and multi-state failures (LEO vs GEO)
Spacecraft reliability (with different covariates)
Spacecraft subsystem reliability and multistate failure analysis
Space-based network reliability and survivability analysis

For what purpose? To inform and improve spacecraft design, testing, and reliability growth programs

For space systems, statistical analysis of flight data provides particularly useful feedback to spacecraft designers. Such analyses can help guide spacecraft testing programs and provide an empirical basis for subsystem redundancy and reliability growth plans.

Analyzing spacecraft degradation and failure behavior on orbit, and identifying their subsystems’ actual reliability profiles (how they actually degrade and fail on orbit, not how they should), can help spacecraft manufacturers prioritize and hone in on problematic subsystems that would benefit more from reliability improvements.

Reliability improvements can be achieved through redundancy, increased testing prior to launch, or better design and parts selection, and these efforts would result in a decreased likelihood of spacecraft experiencing failure events on orbit.

In addition, identifying whether specific spacecraft subsystems experience “infant mortality,” for example, would provide a clear opportunity for spacecraft manufacturers and equipment providers to develop burn-in procedures for weeding out early failures in such subsystems.

Statistical analysis of on-orbit failure and spacecraft reliability can also provide important and actionable information to stakeholders other than spacecraft manufacturers. For example, satellite operators may be particularly interested in the reliability profiles of their on-orbit assets, for planning and risk mitigation purposes, and insurers evidently rely on such analysis and information to set up their policy and insurance premiums.



Specific focus areas: the titles below provide a first guide into this body of work


2. Saleh, J. H., Castet, J.-F.

Spacecraft Reliability and Multi-State Failures: A Statistical Approach(click to see first chapter)

Saleh, J. H., Castet, J.-F. John Wiley & Sons, 2011

3. Castet, J.-F., Saleh, J. H.

Satellite Reliability and Satellite subsystem Reliability: Statistical Data Analysis and Modeling

Reliability Engineering and System Safety, Vol. 94, Issue 11, 2009, pp. 1718–1728

5. Castet, J.-F., Saleh, J. H.

Beyond reliability, multi-state failure analysis of satellite subsystems: a statistical approach

Reliability Engineering and System Safety, Vol. 95, Issue 4, 2010, pp. 311–322

6. Dubos, G. F., Castet, J.-F., Saleh, J. H.

Statistical Reliability Analysis of Satellites by Mass Category: Does Spacecraft Size Matter?

Acta Astronautica, Vol. 67, Issue 5-6, 2010, pp. 584–595

7. Wise, M.A., Saleh, J.H., Haga, R.A.

Health Scorecard of Spacecraft Platforms: Track Record of On-Orbit Anomalies and Failures and Preliminary Comparative Analysis

Acta Astronautica, Vol. 68, Issue 1–2, 2011, pp. 253–268

8. Haga, R. A., Saleh, J. H.

Epidemiology of satellite anomalies and failures: a subsystem-centric approach

Acta Astronautica, Vol. 69, Issue 7-8, 2011, pp. 676–690

9. Kim, S. Y., Castet, J.-F., Saleh, J. H.

Spacecraft Electrical Power Subsystem: Failure Behavior, Reliability, and Multi-State Failure Analyses

Reliability Engineering and System Safety, Vol. 98, Issue 1, 2012, pp. 55–65

10. Wayer, J. K., Castet, J.-F., Saleh, J. H.

Spacecraft attitude control subsystem: reliability, multi-state analyses, and comparative failure behavior in LEO and GEO

Acta Astronautica, Vol. 85, 2013, pp. 83–92