An Assessment of Space Shuttle Flight Software Development Processes

An Assessment of Space Shuttle Flight Software Development Processes

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Effective software is essential to the success and safety of the Space Shuttle, including its crew and its payloads. The on-board software continually monitors and controls critical systems throughout a Space Shuttle flight. At NASA's request, the committee convened to review the agency's flight software development processes and to recommend a number of ways those processes could be improved. This book, the result of the committee's study, evaluates the safety, oversight, and management functions that are implemented currently in the Space Shuttle program to ensure that the software is of the highest quality possible. Numerous recommendations are made regarding safety and management procedures, and a rationale is offered for continuing the Independent Verification and Validation effort that was instituted after the Challenger Accident.... of the art in computer and sensor technologies, 1 and the conservatism of the program managers who were reluctant to incorporate unproven technology because of the possible risk to the safety, cost, and schedule of the Shuttle program. ... This fact places the control system, and the development and maintenance of the software to run it, squarely on the critical path of safety and mission performance. ... before the current 386/486 and 68000 series of computer chips were available.

Title:An Assessment of Space Shuttle Flight Software Development Processes
Author: Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, Committee for Review of Oversight Mechanisms for Space Shuttle Flight Software Processes, Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, National Research Council
Publisher:National Academies Press - 1993-01-01

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