Shoal’s Next Generation Flight Analysis Capability (NGFAC) is a capability that fits within the Decision Support and Analysis Program. It consists of a set of bespoke processes and tools for performing analysis of complex aerospace vehicles. The capability allows Shoal to support clients in conducting complex activities, such as flight trials, in compliance with relevant (national or international) Range Safety Standards, including the Australian Flight Safety Code, by evaluating the safe operational boundary of the proposed trial. It is built upon many years of experience in Civil and Defence Range Safety, using modern tools which allow development of almost any vehicle type, to the required fidelity.
NGFAC aims to provide analyses to meet specific customer requirements in the most efficient, effective manner possible. Whether it’s a:
- High-fidelity 6-degree-of-freedom analysis of a 3-stage rocket that must comply with Australian and International Range Safety Criteria, or an
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicle risk analysis exploration, or a
- Rapid quick-look study into the sensitivity of a missile’s performance as a function of mass, thrust, and aerodynamics,
NGFAC leverages the Shoal team’s aerospace Modelling & Simulation expertise, combined with an advanced software toolkit, to deliver the analysis required, in the timeframe required.
NGFAC was recently used to assess the atmospheric re-entry of a spacecraft against the Flight Safety Code. A Risk Hazard Analysis was developed, which leveraged NGFAC’s ability to model the spacecraft and simulate it thousands of times using Monte Carlo techniques to account for random variations in the environment and key vehicle parameters. The model incorporated curved, rotating Earth dynamics and a simplified hypersonic aerodynamics model, all of which were key to representing the true performance of the vehicle. After development, the model was then applied to meet the Maximum Probable Loss insurance calculations, also required under the Australian Space Activities Act – further demonstrating the utility of NGFAC in meeting varied analysis requirements.
Shoal has also previously been involved in the safety assessment of a broad range of aerospace systems across the Defence, civilian and research domains including the ASRAAM air-to-air missile, JASSM cruise missile, JDAM-ER long-range glide bomb, Javelin anti-armour missile, MU-90 torpedo, HIFiRE hypersonic test vehicles, and the atmospheric re-entry of the Japanese ‘Hayabusa’ spacecraft in 2010.
NGFAC was developed by applying Shoal’s own approaches to Capability Design (yes, we really do “practice what we preach”!). A Model-Based Systems Engineering tool was used to perform up-front Systems Engineering activities and support the design of the NGFAC system, from the definition of the operational activities through to the allocation of requirements to the NGFAC toolkit components. Implemented with a hybrid Agile-Spiral development process, the team was able to quickly prototype components and deliver capability, minimizing risk to this Research & Development activity.
NGFAC is a unique capability globally, developed to meet the needs of a wide array of analysis purposes; from robust, transparent range safety analyses which can improve trial effectiveness, to informing decision makers on the acceptability of systems in line with performance or regulatory requirements. It makes use of modern, efficient and scalable computing, in combination with the bespoke expertise Shoal possess.
Image: Collective risk posed to the population by an example Uncrewed Aerial System (UAS) operation in Adelaide, South Australia