software prototype of BEAM (Beaconbased Exception Analysis for Multimissions) and successfully tested its operation in flight onboard a NASA research aircraft. BEAM (see NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 26, No. 9; and Vol. 27, No. 3) is an ISHM (Integrated Systems Health Management) technology that automatically analyzes sensor data and classifies system behavior as either nominal or anomalous, and further characterizes anomalies according to strength, duration, and affected signals. BEAM (see figure) can be used to monitor a wide variety of physical systems and sensor types in real time. In this series of tests, BEAM monitored the engines of a Dryden Flight Research Center F-18 aircraft, and performed onboard, unattended analysis of 26 engine sensors from engine startup to shutdown. The BEAM algorithm can detect anomalies based solely on the sensor data, which includes but is not limited to sensor failure, performance degradation, incorrect operation such as unplanned engine shutdown or flameout in this example, and major system faults. BEAM was tested on an F- 18 simulator, static engine tests, and 25 individual flights totaling approximately 60 hours of flight time. During these tests, BEAM successfully identified planned anomalies (in-flight shutdowns of one engine) as well as minor unplanned anomalies (e.g., transient oiland fuel-pressure drops), with no false alarms or suspected false-negative results for the period tested. BEAM also detected previously unknown behavior in the F-18 compressor section during several flights. This result, confirmed by direct analysis of the raw data, serves as a significant test of BEAM's capability.

Top-Level BEAM Architecture is used for monitoring physical systems in real time.

This program was written by Ryan Mackey, Raffi Tikidjian, Mark James, and David Wang of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free online at under the Software category.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Karina Edmonds of the California Institute of Technology at (626) 395-2322. Refer to NPO-42727.

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Flight-Tested Prototype of BEAM Software

(reference NPO-42727) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the September, 2006 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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