Systems Optimization

Businesses are constantly optimizing, particularly in the design and operation of complex systems. The engineering and business combination in the LGO curriculum uniquely prepares students to work on systems optimization problems in a variety of industries. For example, LGO students are uniquely qualified to work on complex healthcare systems engineering problems that can effect how many patients a hospital can treat. These problems all use large-scale analytics models to produce results.

A Systems-Based Analysis Method for Safety Design in Rocket Testing Controllers

Jeremy Paquin (LGO ’19) 

Engineering Department: Aeronautics and Astronautics
Company: Boeing
Location: Huntsville, AL

Paquin, Boeing, 2019
Jeremy’s project focused on optimizing systems testing for future deep space vehicles.

Problem: NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), is an advanced launch vehicle for a new era of exploration beyond Earth’s orbit into deep space. Boeing is the prime contractor to build the Core Stage, and backbone of the SLS. The primary objective of Jeremy’s project was to improve Boeing’s ability to perform test firing of the current and future iterations of the SLS in a way that minimizes schedule risk and cost.  

Approach: Jeremy’s project modeled the current stage controller processes. This included interviewing key stakeholders and subject matter experts, and top-down systems model development of key interactions. He also defined hazards/accidents, and key interactions, and held stakeholder In-Progress Reviews (IPRs) throughout. Jeremy then completed a Systems-Theoretic Process Analysis (STPA) on the Stage Controller Design, comparing unsafe control actions with previous analysis, comparing key performance metrics on previous analysis with STPA results and metrics 

Impact: The outcome of the project provided a framework for Stage Controller safety analysis for safer testing and pre-launch operations of the SLS core phase in a way that minimized cost and schedule risk. This framework is applicable to future space launch architecture development.  Additionally, non-technical recommendations were suggested in the areas of testing operations and organization. Future work will examine extensions of STPA to software, and automation of certain steps.