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Assessment of safety in space power wiring systems

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2 Author(s)
M. W. Stavnes ; Lewis Res. Center Group, Sverdrup Technol. Inc., Brook Park, OH, USA ; A. N. Hammoud

Wiring system failures have resulted from arc propagation in the wiring harnesses of many aircraft and space vehicles. These failures occur when the insulation becomes conductive upon the initiation of an arc. In some cases, the conductive path of the carbon arc track displays a high enough resistance such that the current is limited, and therefore may be difficult to detect using conventional circuit protection. Often, such wiring failures are not simply the result of insulation failure but are due to a combination of wiring system factors. Inadequate circuit protection, unreliable system designs, and careless maintenance procedures can contribute to a wiring system failure. This paper approaches the problem with respect to the overall wiring system, in order to determine what steps can be taken to improve the reliability, maintainability, and safety of space power systems. Power system technologies, system designs, and maintenance procedures which have contributed to past wiring system failures are discussed. New technologies, design processes, and management techniques which may lead to improved wiring system safety are introduced.<>

Published in:

IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine  (Volume:9 ,  Issue: 1 )