Effective Experimentation Strategies in Aerospace Research: Case Studies and Lessons LearnedView Presentation *Peter Parker, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Keywords: Design of Experiments, Response Surface Methodology, Statistical Engineering
Aerospace research is a process of experimentation to increase our knowledge. Borrowing from the phraseology of Box (1999), it is truly an iterative process of discovery as we move from inductive to deductive reasoning to study the physics of flow phenomena or aerodynamic vehicle performance. Effective research can be measured by the rate knowledge obtained given the available resources. Statistical design of experiments offers a proven, structured framework for accelerated learning under resource constraints. In this presentation, case studies from planetary exploration and manned space flight illustrate tactical strategies to apply statistical design of experiments and response surface methodology. In addition, techniques are presented that can overcome cultural barriers that result from challenges to traditional research approaches. Moreover, these examples lead to lessons learned that are broadly applicable to the utilization of design of experiments in many applications. While the examples are specific to aerospace research, the methods to effectively implement, practice, and communicate the results of statistically designed experiments are broadly applicable.