A RISK-INFORMED DECISION-MAKING METHODOLOGY TO IMPROVE LIQUID ROCKET ENGINE PROGRAM TRADEOFFS
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This work provides a risk-informed decision-making methodology to improve liquid rocket engine program tradeoffs with the conflicting areas of concern affordability, reliability, and initial operational capability (IOC) by taking into account psychological and economic theories in combination with reliability engineering. Technical program risks are associated with the number of predicted failures of the test-analyze-and-fix (TAAF) cycle that is based on the maturity of the engine components. Financial and schedule program risks are associated with the epistemic uncertainty of the models that determine the measures of effectiveness in the three areas of concern. The affordability and IOC models' inputs reflect non-technical and technical factors such as team experience, design scope, technology readiness level, and manufacturing readiness level. The reliability model introduces the Reliability- As-an-Independent-Variable (RAIV) strategy that aggregates fictitious or actual hotfire tests of testing profiles that differ from the actual mission profile to estimate the system reliability. The main RAIV strategy inputs are the physical or functional architecture of the system, the principal test plan strategy, a stated reliability-bycredibility requirement, and the failure mechanisms that define the reliable life of the system components. The results of the RAIV strategy, which are the number of hardware sets and number of hot-fire tests, are used as inputs to the affordability and the IOC models. Satisficing within each tradeoff is attained by maximizing the weighted sum of the normalized areas of concern subject to constraints that are based on the decision-maker's targets and uncertainty about the affordability, reliability, and IOC using genetic algorithms. In the planning stage of an engine program, the decision variables of the genetic algorithm correspond to fictitious hot-fire tests that include TAAF cycle failures. In the program execution stage, the RAIV strategy is used as reliability growth planning, tracking, and projection model.
The main contributions of this work are the development of a comprehensible and consistent risk-informed tradeoff framework, the RAIV strategy that links affordability and reliability, a strategy to define an industry or government standard or guideline for liquid rocket engine hot-fire test plans, and an alternative to the U.S. Crow/AMSAA reliability growth model applying the RAIV strategy.