FDI(R) for satellites: How to deal with high availability and robustness in the space domain?
The European leader for satellite systems and at the forefront of orbital infrastructures, Thales Alenia Space, is a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Finmeccanica (33%) and forms with Telespazio a Space Alliance. Thales Alenia Space is a worldwide reference in telecoms, radar and optical Earth observation, defence and security, navigation and science. It has 11 industrial sites in 4 European countries (France, Italy, Spain and Belgium) with over 7200 employees worldwide. Satellite evolution and the wish to design more autonomous missions imply the enhancement of the satellite architecture and special attention paid to fault management (i.e., Fault Detection, Isolation and Recovery, or FDIR, in space). Nevertheless, the constraints on FDIR techniques and strategies remain the same as for standard missions: robustness, reactive detection, quick isolation/identification and validation. This paper gives an introduction to Fault Tolerance (FT) in the space domain and some principles for the coming FT architectures. The current context of FDIR is presented by describing the approach implemented on telecommunication satellites and, more precisely, on one of the most FDIR sensible subsystems: the AOCS (Attitude and Orbit Control System). Following the current state of FDIR in the space domain, some perspectives are given such as a centralized distributed FDIR strategy for the next generation of autonomous satellites as well as some research tracks and hybrid diagnosis.
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