Ariane Flight Failure

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The Ariane Flight Failure was a situation in which the self-destruction of a space-faring rocket was caused by a failure in proper software testing. Below we’ll give a brief overview, some problems that happened, and I will be giving my own thoughts on this. We’ll then wrap up and move to describing a test cases which could have been used to prevent failure. To begin, the Ariane-5 Rocket was due to enter space, but during the launch sequence, the craft swiveled out of control, broke up, and then exploded. The events that lead up to the explosion were simple: There was a nominal and smooth launch up to H0-36 seconds, then at around H0-36.7 seconds the Inertial Reference Systems ceased to function. The backup IRS was also down. Two nozzles of the solid rocket boosters swiveled into the extreme position, which then caused the rocket to abruptly veer off course. The rupture of the links between the solid boosters caused the self-destruct sequence to correctly begin (but prematurely). The initial failures were that the on-board computer used calculations sent by the IRS, but these calculations were actually output of an exception …show more content…

For one, the most important issue that I saw was that 3 of the 7 variables which could produce operand errors were unprotected. In the report, the groups found that it produced a high margin of safety. However, this shouldn’t be assumed like this. A high margin of safety still has a certain marginal chance of fault. This needs to be compensated for in the event that it does fail (as it did). Secondly, the specifications actually required that the processor of the IRS should shutdown on fault. Yet another error in specification requirements. Thirdly, the software used by the Ariane-5 was also used by the Ariane-4, but was not updated to compensate for the changes made to the A-5. Honestly, this could have been prevented with the proper test cases implemented, which will be covered:

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