how to integrate its knowledge with input from external agencies. In this way, a complete understanding of the combined effects of radiation, thermal, volatile, and particulate environments that will be likely on the Moon can be brought to bear on the design of reliable electronic components.
Those with experience in the long-term life of critical electronic components and systems in uncrewed systems (NASA has plenty of expertise, especially at JPL as well as at GSFC) know how much likelihood of failure should be allocated to these systems. It does not appear that the highest management levels for the Constellation/Orion missions understand these risks, nor is it even clear that appropriate industrial firms have been involved in risk allocations associated with the long-term functioning of space electronics for these missions. This concern is derived from the lack of concrete requirements, the apparent lack of any reasonable priority (by virtue of extremely low funding levels of some of the subtasks), and the apparent lack of upper management’s incorporation of electronics issues into mission architectures and planning.
An example of the lack of concern is that currently funded R&D teams in this area, as presented to the committee, are not deeply informed about the radiation or volatile environment on the lunar surface—an absolutely necessary prerequisite to the proper modeling of radiation effects on electronics. Radiation-hardened electronics can be an extremely expensive endeavor in terms of both cost and risk—improper design (ill-informed by physical realities) could deeply jeopardize deliverables such as electronics-based systems fabricated with these components, launch schedules, and even missions.
Finally, the work that was presented to the committee would apparently not be closed-loop system tested in a relevant environment, owing in large part to limited buy-in from mission elements. This fact limits the likelihood that these technologies can be validated for flight in time for insertion into mission architectures. Thus the incorporation of novel electronics concepts, such as redundancy and maintainability strategies, into mission architectures is effectively precluded, virtually eliminating any efficiencies that could be built in through more robust electronics.
Clearly the work of the RHESE project has enormous applicability to lunar outpost and Mars missions. All of the work being done in its project elements is highly extensible to longer-term missions and to long-duration spaceflight and missions to the surface of Mars.
Integrated Systems Health Management (ISHM) is a system engineering discipline that addresses the design, development, operation, and life-cycle management of components, subsystems, vehicles, and other operational systems. The primary objectives of ISHM are to maintain nominal system behavior and function and to ensure mission safety and effectiveness under off-nominal conditions. ISHM is an enabling capability for risk mitigation, mission safety, and mission assurance for space exploration. Specifically, ISHM is to provide a systematic methodology to increase ground system availability for Constellation. The project elements presented were as follows:
Solid-rocket motor health management, with an add-on proof-of-concept test for NASA that will be accommodated in a flight demonstration on a DOD microsatellite called Tactical Satellite-3;
Integrated ground system diagnostics, with infusion into ground support and analyses infrastructure; and
In-space, closed-loop, long-duration validation of a complete ISHM system.