OSMA Creates MBMA Program to Improve Integration of Assurance Considerations in MBSE

OSMA Creates MBMA Program to Improve Integration of Assurance Considerations in MBSE

4-minute read

The Office of Safety and Mission Assurance (OSMA) created a new program dedicated to developing projects focused on moving demonstrations to best practices in the emerging Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) paradigm. The Model-Based Mission Assurance (MBMA) Program will work to facilitate the integration of assurance functions and requirements into the project model.

OSMA has been evaluating the advantages that assurance disciplines could achieve in MBSE approaches in space systems development since 2015 under the leadership of Reliability and Maintainability Program Manager and MBMA Program Manager Dr. John Evans.

In a number of early projects, OSMA demonstrated that MBMA coupled with MBSE could lead to better flow of Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) requirements and rapid inclusion of SMA activities early in the project life cycle. With the emergence of NASA’s MBSE initiatives, OSMA is now partnered with the Office of the Chief Engineer (OCE)-sponsored MBSE Integration and Modernization Initiative (MIAMI) to move MBMA forward to support the development of best practices for this rapidly developing area of Systems Engineering. The MBMA Program is working cooperatively with OCE’s MIAMI.

Across the centers, NASA has recognized the benefits of moving systems development products to electronic formats that are linked together through models rather than relying on a document-centric framework. Projects such as Europa are beginning to see significant benefits with managing design changes, mass roll ups and requirements management through MBSE. Through model-based approaches, a virtual model of the system is created, typically while it is still in the D-System Architecture Phase. The system model is used as a central form of communication rather than using a disparate set of documents — acting as a “single source of truth” to support knowledge of the system and analysis.

“The benefit of MBMA is that it provides the design community, of which SMA is crucial part of, up-to-date design information as the project progresses through the design life cycle,” said Mark Kowaleski, NASA Safety Center (NSC) chief engineer. “SMA and designers can work together in unison and compare iterations. Each time a design changes, SMA needs to determine how Reliability and safety are effected and how best to influence the design process.”

MBMA also provides an opportunity to rapidly integrate the basic safety and Reliability products, such as hazards, fault trees, Failure Mode and Effects Analyses, and Reliability models, as demonstrated from some of the OSMA-sponsored efforts of Lui Wang, a Technical Expert domain lead for advanced software technologies in the Software Robotics Simulation Division at Johnson Space Center. This may also lead to fully-integrated Probabilistic Risk Assessments. In addition, MBMA can support innovations that OSMA is looking for in managing risk and risk acceptance prior to launch, as well as enabling more effective analysis and use of information by SMA professionals supporting missions.

“MBMA coupled to the MBSE approach will help to ensure the early life cycle integration of SMA with engineering design and enable improvements in risk-informed decision making for all key stakeholders,” said Evans.

According to Evans, the long term objectives for the MBMA Program are to

  1. Support integration of assurance considerations into the MBSE infrastructure in NASA and within NASA systems developers.
  2. Develop best practices in application of models that provide for integration of effective assurance practices into the modeling framework.
  3. Develop and demonstrate the how models support risk acceptance and risk-informed decision making.
  4. Develop strategies for assurance of models themselves.

Evans has stressed that these objectives can be met only with a cooperative effort with the Systems Engineering community and must adhere to the “single source of truth” principle of MBSE. The new program has been vetted through OSMA’s rigorous discipline survey and budget preparation process.

A number of projects are ongoing at the centers in cooperation with MIAMI. These include looking at how the Chief Safety and Mission Assurance Officer can more effectively gain insight into his project through the model. Significant progress has been made in this objective by Dr. Steven Cornford, a senior engineer at Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Cornford has developed some unique patterns to interface SMA needs with MBSE models providing for a significant advance in innovation, which was recognized widely in the NASA Systems Engineering community.

OSMA formulated an advisory committee with key members from the SMA community, including the Independent Verification and Validation Facility and the NSC, and has recently conducted an SMA community stakeholder workshop under the leadership of Sean Beckman, a certified INCOSE Systems Engineer and practicing Quality Assurance engineer at Glenn Research Center. The program currently enjoys the support of Systems Engineering Technical Fellow Jon Holladay, as well as the OSMA technical fellows. According to Tony Diventi, the recently appointed Reliability and Maintainability technical fellow, “This is the future of SMA.”

To learn more about MBMA, visit the MBMA Program page on the OSMA website.