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The Necessity of Functional Analysis for Space Exploration ProgramsAs NASA moves toward expanded commercial spaceflight within its human exploration capability, there is increased emphasis on how to allocate responsibilities between government and commercial organizations to achieve coordinated program objectives. The practice of program-level functional analysis offers an opportunity for improved understanding of collaborative functions among heterogeneous partners. Functional analysis is contrasted with the physical analysis more commonly done at the program level, and is shown to provide theoretical performance, risk, and safety advantages beneficial to a government-commercial partnership. Performance advantages include faster convergence to acceptable system solutions; discovery of superior solutions with higher commonality, greater simplicity and greater parallelism by substituting functional for physical redundancy to achieve robustness and safety goals; and greater organizational cohesion around program objectives. Risk advantages include avoidance of rework by revelation of some kinds of architectural and contractual mismatches before systems are specified, designed, constructed, or integrated; avoidance of cost and schedule growth by more complete and precise specifications of cost and schedule estimates; and higher likelihood of successful integration on the first try. Safety advantages include effective delineation of must-work and must-not-work functions for integrated hazard analysis, the ability to formally demonstrate completeness of safety analyses, and provably correct logic for certification of flight readiness. The key mechanism for realizing these benefits is the development of an inter-functional architecture at the program level, which reveals relationships between top-level system requirements that would otherwise be invisible using only a physical architecture. This paper describes the advantages and pitfalls of functional analysis as a means of coordinating the actions of large heterogeneous organizations for space exploration programs.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
External Source(s)
Morris, A. Terry (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Breidenthal, Julian C. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
April 24, 2015
Publication Date
October 16, 2011
Subject Category
Astronautics (General)
Theoretical Mathematics
Space Transportation and Safety
Administration and Management
Meeting Information
Digital Avionics Systems Conference (DASC)(Seattle, WA)
Distribution Limits
program management
systems engineering
functional analysis