A Sensor Data Qualification (SDQ) function has been developed that allows the onboard flight computers on NASA’s launch vehicles to determine the validity of sensor data to ensure that critical safety and operational decisions are not based on faulty sensor data. This SDQ function includes a novel noise series fault detection algorithm for qualification of the output data from LO2 and LH2 low-level liquid sensors. These sensors are positioned in a launch vehicle’s propellant tanks in order to detect propellant depletion during a rocket engine’s boost operating phase. This detection capability can prevent the catastrophic situation where the engine operates without propellant. The output from each LO2 and LH2 low-level liquid sensor is a discrete valued signal that is expected to be in either of two states, depending on whether the sensor is immersed (wet) or exposed (dry). Conventional methods for sensor data qualification, such as threshold limit checking, are not effective for this type of signal due to its discrete binary-state nature.

To address this data qualification challenge, a noise computation and evaluation method, also known as a noise fault detector, was developed to detect unreasonable statistical characteristics in the discrete data stream. The method operates on a time series of discrete data observations over a moving window of data points and performs a continuous examination of the resulting observation stream to identify the presence of anomalous characteristics. If the method determines the existence of anomalous results, the data from the sensor is disqualified for use by other monitoring or control functions.

This work was done by Christopher Fulton, Edmond Wong, and Kevin Melcher of Glenn Research Center; and Randall Bickford of Expert Microsystems, Inc. For more information, contact kimberly.a. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to NASA Glenn Research Center, Innovative Partnerships Office, Attn: Steven Fedor, Mail Stop 4–8, 21000 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44135. LEW-18694-1