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Humans in Space

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Integrated Vehicle Health Management (IVHM)
Humans In Space

Integrated Vehicle Health Management (IVHM) systems are being developed for the Second Generation Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV), crew, and cargo transfer vehicles. These highly integrated systems will likely include advanced smart sensors, diagnostic and prognostics software for sensors and components, model based reasoning systems for subsystem and system level managers, advanced on-board and ground-based mission and maintenance planners, and a host of other software and hardware technologies. These hardware and software technologies will be embedded in the vehicle subsystems, maintenance operations, and launch and mission operations elements, and will provide both real-time and life-cycle vehicle health information which will enable informed decision making and logistics management. Knowledge databases of the vehicle health state will be continuously updated and reported for critical failure modes, and routinely updated and reported for life cycle condition trending.

Sufficient intelligence will be included in the IVHM and related vehicle systems to result in more rapid recognition of off-nominal operation to enable quicker corrective actions. This will result from the IVHM system providing better information (rather than just data) for improved crew/operator situational awareness, which will produce significant vehicle and crew safety improvements, as well as increasing the chance for mission completion.

Other IVHM benefits include improved reliability, availability, and cost of operations. Most major subsystems, processing elements, and operations elements are likely to benefit from IVHM technologies, including: propulsion, power, structures, thermal protection systems, avionics, Orbital Maneuvering Systems (OMS), Reaction Control Systems (RCS), crew systems, vehicle turnaround/logistics, launch operations, and mission operations. Another IVHM benefit will be reduced fatigue accumulation rates of systems and structures due to less cycling. Cost benefits include: significantly reduced processing and operations manpower, predictive maintenance for main engines and other high maintenance systems, lower DDT&E costs due to factory enabled Built In Test (BIT). The improvements in vehicle turnaround and cost will be due to prognostic and diagnostic capability resulting in less actual maintenance being performed due to the detailed vehicle health knowledge from IVHM. A collateral benefit is that there will be fewer maintenance induced (disturbed system) discrepancies and more of the vehicle/component lives used during actual operation.