Purdue University Graduate School

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Systems Health Management for Resilient Extraterrestrial Habitation

posted on 2024-04-17, 18:05 authored by Murali Krishnan Rajasekharan PillaiMurali Krishnan Rajasekharan Pillai

Deep-space extraterrestrial missions require operating, supporting, and maintaining complex habitat systems at light minutes from Earth.

These habitation systems operate in harsh, unforgiving environments, will be sparsely crewed, and must be more autonomous than current space habitats, as communication delays will severely constrain Earth-based support.

Long-duration missions, limited knowledge of the extraterrestrial environment, and the need for self-sufficiency make these habitats vulnerable to a wide range of risks and failures, many of which are impossible to premeditate.

Therefore, it is necessary to design these systems to be resilient to faults and failures, thoughtfully designed to be situationally aware of their operational state and engage control mechanisms that maintain safe operations when migrating towards unsafe regions of operation.

Resilience-oriented design of such systems requires a holistic systems approach that represents the system's dynamic behavior, its control-oriented behaviors, and the interactions between them as it navigates through regions of safe and unsafe operations.

Only through this integrated approach can we fully understand how the system will behave under various conditions and design controls to prevent performance loss and ensure resilient operations.

Systems health management (SHM) is a key component for the resilience-oriented design of extraterrestrial habitats.

SHM capabilities enable intelligent autonomous control capabilities that can:

a) sense, diagnose, and isolate the root causes of anomalies,

b) predict how the system's behavior may evolve, and

c) select and execute recovery actions to restore system performance when appropriate.

Modern SHM technologies increasingly rely on intelligent autonomous control capabilities to manage system health and adapt behavior to maintain system performance.

This is achieved through complex nonlinear informational dependencies and control feedback loops that are difficult to design and verify using traditional risk assessment and resilience engineering methods.

This research contributes to enhancing the conceptual and preliminary design phases for developing resilient complex systems with embedded intelligent control-oriented behaviors.

It presents the required systems engineering tools and frameworks, enabling us to study the dynamic behavior of systems as they approach and recover from unsafe operations.

Further, it demonstrates how these tools and frameworks can quantify and gain insights into system resilience and support engineering decisions.

The work is contextualized within the broader systems engineering approach for designing complex, resilient extraterrestrial habitation systems.



National Aeronautics and Space Administration

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Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Mechanical Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Ilias Bilionis

Additional Committee Member 2

Shirley J. Dyke

Additional Committee Member 3

Jitesh H. Pachal

Additional Committee Member 4

Davide Ziviani