Software Assurance

Challenge:

Plans for human exploration of Mars rely on the Space Launch System (SLS)—a rocket more powerful than the Saturn V. NASA needs to assure that all of the flight software products are of high quality and operate safely. The first flight of the SLS is scheduled for December 2019.

Solution:

The Integrated Avionics Test Facilities (IATF) at Marshall Space Flight Center integrate, test and verify the SLS avionics and software prior to vehicle launch using modeling and simulation. The IATF labs are hardware-in-the-loop facilities where a simulated SLS vehicle can be flown hundreds of times to test the entire avionics system from pre-launch through core stage engine cutoff. The SLS avionic boxes include the three flight computers and several other specialized black boxes required for engine control, navigation and communication.

  • The Software Development Facilities at IATF develop and test the SLS flight software.
  • The System Integration Test Facility tests the avionics and software that will be used during the SLS Green Run test at Stennis Space Center. The Green Run test, scheduled for December 2018, will be the first time the four RS-25 rocket engines are assembled into a single configuration with the core stage and fired at nearly full-power.
  • IATF’s System Integration Laboratory performs avionics and software integration to identify any problems with the system and ensures the units communicate as expected.

The Engility Software Assurance team helps NASA with the challenge of ensuring the SLS operates safely and as intended. Engility engineers assure that the software and its related products meet their specified requirements, conform to standards and regulations, and are consistent, complete, correct and safe. Engility plans and performs software quality assurance, control and engineering. These activities check that the software is reliable, maintainable and testable. Software safety engineers identify, analyze, track, mitigate and control software hazards and hazardous functions, tracing safety requirements throughout the software’s lifecycle.

Benefit:

Engility has performed several activities to assure the readiness of the flight software for the upcoming Green Run test in December 2018 and the SLS launch in December 2019. These activities include requirements analysis; design/code reviews; reviews of formal qualification test artifacts; hazard analysis; and process audits. These activities improve the quality of the flight software by eliminating software defects and provides our NASA customer with confidence that the software will operate safely and meet mission objectives.