Use of the SAPHIRE Software Within NASA

Dr. Curtis Smith
Idaho National Laboratory
Department of Risk, Reliability and NRC Programs

Throughout the Apollo Program and until the Challenger Accident, NASA relied heavily on worst-case Failure Modes and Effects Analysis for safety assessment. This approach has problems, such as it is qualitative and no attempt is made to aggregate risk at system or mission level. Currently, probabilistic methods are being used at NASA, including: Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) for the International Space Station, PRA for the Space Shuttle, PRA studies in support of nuclear missions, and PRA for conceptual designs. Most of these probabilistic activities have used the Idaho National Laboratory's SAPHIRE risk assessment software. This talk will outline the types of NASA activities using SAPHIRE and the capabilities of the software.

As a safety, risk, and reliability engineer, Dr. Smith is a key member of the Idaho National Laboratory's Risk, Reliability and NRC Programs department. His primary duties and responsibilities are to lead risk and reliability methods research and development efforts and applied engineering projects for the U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Department of Energy (DOE). Dr. Smith has made significant contributions in the way that NASA views risk and performs risk assessment. His work through the multi-million dollar project for NASA Headquarters' Office of Safety and Mission Assurance has been a major factor in reshaping the use of PRA for NASA's high-profile manned and unmanned space projects, including developing the Constellation Probabilistic Risk Assessment SAPHIRE model and completing a new NASA guidebook on the topic of Bayesian Inference for Risk and Reliability.

Dr. Smith obtained his undergraduate degree (B.S.) from Idaho State University. He continued his education at ISU and completed a nuclear engineering M.S. He completed his Ph.D. and doctoral thesis work at M.I.T., focusing on formal decision making activities at nuclear power plants.