Use Case 1
Parts Pedigree Verification
The United States National Security relies on the safe transport of mission critical payloads to space by launch vehicles with validated material origin stories. The practice of validating the origin story of flight critical components on a launch vehicle is called Parts Pedigree Review. While essential to mission success, Pedigree Reviews are a slow, tedious, and error-prone process. Traditionally, it requires the collection of inputs from thousands of sources to force fit various complex, centralized data repositories, creating excess costs and catastrophic failure risk. Most supply chain and quality managers in the United States Space Force (USSF) and prime contractor community still rely on the manual scan and upload of PDF data packages to meet material trace requirements.
Within the United States Space Force, the Quality Engineering Division serves as a gate keeper, ensuring that only parts of a known, good pedigree are used for launch services. This requires a team of technical experts to validate the pedigree of all flight critical parts on the launch vehicle. Each Launch Service Provider (LSP) has a different method for capturing the data to support the part pedigree review. Often, technical experts must travel to a contractor or subcontractor for an onsite review of paper documents. These experts must manually adjudicate requirements found on engineering drawings with the claims found on manufacturing build records. While varying degrees of sophistication exist within the contractor pool, this is still primarily a manual process.
As the number of National Security Space launches is forecasted to increase in the coming years, the Quality Engineering team needs better tools to optimize the pedigree review process for flight worthiness determinations, while at the same time, increasing confidence in data accuracy and combating the increasing risk of counterfeiters and cybersecurity concerns. Quality Engineers must not be forced into specialized, contractor system specific training on top of the already overwhelming skills they’ve mastered. Standardizing the user experience for pedigree reviews with a contractor agnostic interface will make the existing Quality Engineering workforce more dynamic. Digitizing the pedigree review process will reduce travel for manual reviews and enable automation of workflows for the reduction of tedious tasks that lead to human error. Digitizing is also the necessary first step to leveraging Industry 4.0 technologies such as blockchain and AI/ML for further optimization.
Users ingest all pedigree data into the Provenance Chain™ Network (PCN) suite of software solutions, either through direct input or integration.
PCN’s, Provenomics® engine aligns all pedigree and other supporting data to a proprietary framework for schema homogenization, enabling the common user experience for Quality Engineers, regardless of the contractor specific system.
As Quality Engineers conduct their reviews, results and findings are logged into the PCN and shared with the appropriate contractor point of contact or other necessary stakeholders for resolution.
As supporting manufacturing data is imported to the PCN, automated workflows track progress, initiate actions and highlight issues for resolution.
Integrating all relevant data from disparate (non-digitally linked) sources creates a comprehensive, mission level source of truth for pedigree review data. It creates an intuitive user navigation flow which allows for rapid access to the data needed. DHS employees can validate credentials more efficiently, saving time and resources that would be spent hunting down details from foreign institutions.
Integrating manufacturing and pedigree data to the PCN allows for the automated detection of discrepancies / anomalies – eliminating wasted resources on data elements that already align and focusing all attention on items that require expert follow-up.
User Authentication, Access & Permission, enabled by PCN’s FedRAMP cloud environment, ensure all data is secure to the highest levels of NIST compliance – allowing users to share with authorized parties only what they need to.
The forecasted increase in launch tempo to support National Security would require a massive increase in additional personnel resources to maintain low levels of risk for flight critical parts pedigree reviews. Utilizing the PCN to extend the expertise of the existing workforce means that the Quality Engineers will be able to support the forecasted launch tempo without increasing headcount.