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Functional Fault Model Development Process to Support Design Analysis and Operational AssessmentA functional fault model (FFM) is an abstract representation of the failure space of a given system. As such, it simulates the propagation of failure effects along paths between the origin of the system failure modes and points within the system capable of observing the failure effects. As a result, FFMs may be used to diagnose the presence of failures in the modeled system. FFMs necessarily contain a significant amount of information about the design, operations, and failure modes and effects. One of the important benefits of FFMs is that they may be qualitative, rather than quantitative and, as a result, may be implemented early in the design process when there is more potential to positively impact the system design. FFMs may therefore be developed and matured throughout the monitored system's design process and may subsequently be used to provide real-time diagnostic assessments that support system operations. This paper provides an overview of a generalized NASA process that is being used to develop and apply FFMs. FFM technology has been evolving for more than 25 years. The FFM development process presented in this paper was refined during NASA's Ares I, Space Launch System, and Ground Systems Development and Operations programs (i.e., from about 2007 to the present). Process refinement took place as new modeling, analysis, and verification tools were created to enhance FFM capabilities. In this paper, standard elements of a model development process (i.e., knowledge acquisition, conceptual design, implementation & verification, and application) are described within the context of FFMs. Further, newer tools and analytical capabilities that may benefit the broader systems engineering process are identified and briefly described. The discussion is intended as a high-level guide for future FFM modelers.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Melcher, Kevin J.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Maul, William A.
(Vantage Partners, LLC Cleveland, OH, United States)
Hemminger, Joseph A.
(ZIN Technologies, Inc. Brook Park, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
February 3, 2017
Publication Date
September 13, 2016
Subject Category
Launch Vehicles And Launch Operations
Computer Programming And Software
Quality Assurance And Reliability
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: AIAA SPACE Forum 2016
Location: Long Beach, CA
Country: United States
Start Date: September 13, 2016
End Date: September 16, 2016
Sponsors: American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 585777.
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
Fault Isolation
Fault Detection
Design Analysis
Systems Engineering
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