Avionics System Architecture Selection for Commercial Spaceplane Certification and Operations

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M. Douglas (2020), JBIS, 73, pp.323-333

Refcode: 2020.73.323
Keywords: Systems Engineering, Avionics Architecture, Space Systems

Commercial spaceflight operations are developing worldwide with the expectation that space tourism, commercial launch services and commercial support to government agency spaceflight operations will become a routine occurrence over the next decade. As a result, there are numerous commercial space vehicles in development by aerospace companies including several spaceplane concepts designed to conduct sub-orbital and orbital operations. This report considers the avionics architecture selection for a generic spaceplane concept capable of sub-orbital and orbital flight capability such as Reaction Engine’s Skylon spaceplane. Federated Digital Avionics (FDA), Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) and Distributed Integrated Modular Avionics (DIMA) are proposed as suitable architectures to meet the requirements and potential airworthiness certification frameworks expected to be approved by certification agencies such as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Through Down Selection using Pugh’s Decision Matrix, this study identifies and recommends IMA as the most suitable avionics architecture for a conceptual spaceplane designed for commercial spaceflight operations.

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