Ariane 501 – Architecture & assumptions

08/01/2010 — Leave a comment

Ariane 501 Launch

I was cleaning up some of my reference material and came across a copy of the ESA board of investigation report into the Ariane 501 accident. I’ve added my own personal observations, as well as those of other commentators, to the report.

What I find interesting about this accident, is the role that untested, implicit and as it turned out incorrect assumptions, such as a fault hypothesis  that assumed software to be perfect, played in the disaster. In re-reading the report I was also struck by the recommendation that sensors should always send ‘best effort’ data. This is a particulary pertinent issue when considering fail safe design strategies and the selection of voting algorithms for redundant sensor channels.

References

European Space Agency, “Ariane 5 – Flight 501 Failure“, Board of Inquiry Report, 19 July 1996, 18p. Original report accessed from http://www.esrin.esa.it/htdocs/tidc/Press/Press96/ariane5rep.html.

No Comments

Be the first to start the conversation!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s