Achieving Real-Time Mode Estimation through Offline Compilation

Unknown author (2002-10-22)

As exploration of our solar system and outerspace move into the future, spacecraft are being developed to venture on increasingly challenging missions with bold objectives. The spacecraft tasked with completing these missions are becoming progressively more complex. This increases the potential for mission failure due to hardware malfunctions and unexpected spacecraft behavior. A solution to this problem lies in the development of an advanced fault management system. Fault management enables spacecraft to respond to failures and take repair actions so that it may continue its mission. The two main approaches developed for spacecraft fault management have been rule-based and model-based systems. Rules map sensor information to system behaviors, thus achieving fast response times, and making the actions of the fault management system explicit. These rules are developed by having a human reason through the interactions between spacecraft components. This process is limited by the number of interactions a human can reason about correctly. In the model-based approach, the human provides component models, and the fault management system reasons automatically about system wide interactions and complex fault combinations. This approach improves correctness, and makes explicit the underlying system models, whereas these are implicit in the rule-based approach. We propose a fault detection engine, Compiled Mode Estimation (CME) that unifies the strengths of the rule-based and model-based approaches. CME uses a compiled model to determine spacecraft behavior more accurately. Reasoning related to fault detection is compiled in an off-line process into a set of concurrent, localized diagnostic rules. These are then combined on-line along with sensor information to reconstruct the diagnosis of the system. These rules enable a human to inspect the diagnostic consequences of CME. Additionally, CME is capable of reasoning through component interactions automatically and still provide fast and correct responses. The implementation of this engine has been tested against the NEAR spacecraft advanced rule-based system, resulting in detection of failures beyond that of the rules. This evolution in fault detection will enable future missions to explore the furthest reaches of the solar system without the burden of human intervention to repair failed components.