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The Ariane 5 Flight 501 Failure - A Case Study in System Engineering for Computing Systems

Abstract : The report issued by the Inquiry Board in charge of inspecting the Ariane 5 flight 501 failure concludes that causes of the failure are rooted into poor S/W Engineering practice. From the failure scenario described in the Inquiry Board report, it is possible to infer what, in our view, are the real causes of the 501 failure. We develop arguments to demonstrate that the real causes of the 501 failure are neither S/W specification errors nor S/W design errors. Real causes of the failure are faults in the capture of the overall Ariane 5 application/environment requirements, and faults in the design and the dimensioning of the Ariane 5 on- board computing system. These faults result from not following a rigorous System Engineering approach, such as applying a proof-based System Engineering method. What is proof-based System Engineering for Computing Systems is also briefly presented. Key-words: Ariane 5, spaceborne computing system, embedded system, fault, error, failure, method for the engineering of computing systems, real-time system, software engineering, system engineering, user requirements capture, computing system design, computing system dimensioning, design proof, dimensioning proof.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - 1:19:58 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, February 3, 2022 - 11:18:42 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Sunday, April 4, 2010 - 9:19:30 PM


  • HAL Id : inria-00073613, version 1



Gerard Le Lann. The Ariane 5 Flight 501 Failure - A Case Study in System Engineering for Computing Systems. [Research Report] RR-3079, INRIA. 1996. ⟨inria-00073613⟩



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