Shoal Aerospace and Risk Capability
Shoal’s Aerospace and Risk Capability (SHARC) is a set of tools that enables modelling of complex aerospace systems, and their failure modes.
The tools allow 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. SHARC 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.
Video: Space return vehicle de-orbiting into outback South Australia. The dispersion of (pink) trajectories encapsulates the uncertainty in the model’s parameters. SHARC processes these ground impact points using statistical methods to generate various risk hazard products.
Shoal’s aerospace Modelling & Simulation expertise combined with SHARC’s Monte Carlo simulations and statistical processing techniques enable the team to perform complex risk hazard analyses and generate visualisations of the results.
SHARC 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
- Uncrewed/Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) 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.
SHARC was developed by applying Shoal’s own approaches to Capability Design. A Model-Based Systems Engineering tool was used to perform up-front Systems Engineering activities and support the design of the SHARC system, from the definition of the operational activities through to the allocation of requirements to the SHARC 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.
SHARC 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.
SHARC was used to assess the atmospheric re-entry of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Hayabusa2 Sample Return Capsule against the Flight Safety Code. A Risk Hazard Analysis was developed, which leveraged SHARC’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 SHARC in meeting varied analysis requirements.
Image: Collective risk posed to the population by an example Uncrewed Aerial System (UAS) operation in Adelaide, South Australia
This unique capability enabled Shoal to perform re-entry flight-path analysis that included modelling different failure modes and assessing their impact on the risk to public safety and property. SHARC gave us full control of the fidelity to which we could represent the vehicle physics, this was done for both nominal and failure conditions, accounting for uncertainties in key environmental, initial trajectory and vehicle design parameters. The Hayabusa2 Sample Return Capsule landed safely in the Woomera Prohibited Area in December 2020.
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 first JAXA ‘Hayabusa’ spacecraft in 2010.
SHARC has many applications across Defence, space and civil domains, including:
- Guided weapons range safety
- To measure flight risk and define safe operating areas in Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS) range safety
- For UAS risk hazard analysis to populations on the ground
- Rapid missile modelling and analysis for missile performance assessments and intelligence analysis
- Space flight launch and return safety analysis, including rocket launches, and returning space craft to Earth.
Image: UAV failure mode Monte Carlo analysis. The 6 degree-of-freedom model built within SHARC simulates the UAV’s flight from the location of failure (red symbol). The dispersion of ground impact points is converted into a probabilistic distribution shown by the colour scale. These results can be used to quantify the risk to the population and advise the UAV flight path.