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D Definitions for Technology Readiness Levels Technology readiness levels (TRLs) are a systematic metric or measurement system that supports assessments of the maturity of a particular technology and the consistent comparison of maturity between different types of technology. TRLs, first introduced by NASA in the 1980s, initially included seven levels. The system was later expanded to include nine levels, summarized in Table D.1. Table D.1, âTechnology Readiness Levels (TRLs),â is reprinted from Appendix J of NPR [NASA Procedural Requirements] 7120.8, âNASA Research and Technology Program and Project Management Requirements.â (That document is still in draft form, but it will supersede the previous TRL definitions.) TABLE D.1â Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) TRL Definition Hardware Description Software Description Exit Criteria 1 Basic principles Scientific knowledge generated Scientific knowledge generated underpinning Peer reviewed observed and underpinning hardware basic properties of software architecture and publication of reported. technology concepts/applications. mathematical formulation. research underlying the proposed concept/application. 2 Technology Invention begins, practical Practical application is identified but is Documented concept and/or application is identified but is speculative, no experimental proof or detailed description of the application speculative, no experimental analysis is available to support the conjecture. application/concept formulated. proof or detailed analysis Basic properties of algorithms, representations that addresses is available to support the and concepts defined. Basic principles coded. feasibility and conjecture. Experiments performed with synthetic data. benefit. 3 Analytical and Analytical studies place the Development of limited functionality to Documented experimental technology in an appropriate validate critical properties and predictions analytical/ critical context and laboratory using non-integrated software components. experimental function and/or demonstrations, modeling and results validating characteristic simulation validate analytical predictions of key proof of concept. prediction. parameters. 136
APPENDIX D 137 TRL Definition Hardware Description Software Description Exit Criteria 4 Component and/ A low fidelity system/component Key, functionally critical, software Documented or breadboard breadboard is built and operated components are integrated, and functionally test performance validation in to demonstrate basic functionality validated, to establish interoperability and demonstrating laboratory and critical test environments, begin architecture development. Relevant agreement environment. and associated performance environments defined and performance in this with analytical predictions are defined relative to environment predicted. predictions. the final operating environment. Documented definition of relevant environment. 5 Component and/ A medium fidelity system/ End-to-end software elements implemented Documented or breadboard component brassboard is built and and interfaced with existing systems/ test performance validation operated to demonstrate overall simulations conforming to target environment. demonstrating in relevant performance in a simulated End-to-end software system, tested in relevant agreement environment. operational environment with environment, meeting predicted performance. with analytical realistic support elements that Operational environment performance predictions. demonstrates overall performance predicted. Prototype implementations Documented in critical areas. Performance developed. definition of scaling predictions are made for requirements. subsequent development phases. 6 System/ A high-fidelity system/component Prototype implementations of the software Documented subsystem model prototype that adequately demonstrated on full-scale realistic problems. test performance or prototype addresses all critical scaling Partially integrate with existing hardware/ demonstrating demonstration issues is built and operated software systems. Limited documentation agreement in an operation in a relevant environment to available. Engineering feasibility fully with analytical environment. demonstrate operations under demonstrated. predictions. critical environmental conditions. 7 System A high fidelity engineering Prototype software exists having all key Documented prototype unit that adequately addresses functionality available for demonstration test performance demonstration in all critical scaling issues is and test. Well integrated with operational demonstrating an operational built and operated in a relevant hardware/software systems demonstrating agreement environment. environment to demonstrate operational feasibility. Most software bugs with analytical performance in the actual removed. Limited documentation available. predictions. operational environment and platform (ground, airborne, or space). 8 Actual system The final product in its final All software has been thoroughly debugged Documented completed and configuration is successfully and fully integrated with all operational test performance âflight qualifiedâ demonstrated through test hardware and software systems. All user verifying analytical through test and and analysis for its intended documentation, training documentation, and predictions. demonstration. operational environment and maintenance documentation completed. All platform (ground, airborne, or functionality successfully demonstrated in space). simulated operational scenarios. Verification and Validation (V&V) completed. 9 Actual system The final product is successfully All software has been thoroughly debugged Documented flight proven operated in an actual mission. and fully integrated with all operational mission operational through hardware/software systems. All documentation results. successful has been completed. Sustaining software mission engineering support is in place. System has operations. been successfully operated in the operational environment. NOTE: Generic TRL descriptions are found in NASA, NASA Systems Engineering Processes and Requirements, NPR 7123.1, Table G-19. SOURCE: Reprinted from Appendix J of NPR [NASA Procedural Requirements] 7120.8, âNASA Research and Technology Program and Project Management Requirements.â