A field study on root cause analysis of defects in space software



Critical systems, such as space systems, are developed under strict requirements envisaging high integrity in accordance to specific standards. For such software systems, an independent assessment is put into effect (Independent Software Verification and Validation – ISVV) after the regular development lifecycle and V&V activities, aiming at finding residual faults and raising confidence in the software. However, it has been observed that there is still a significant number of defects remaining at this stage, questioning the effectiveness of the previous engineering processes. This paper presents a root cause analysis of 1070 defects found in four space software projects during ISVV, by applying an improved Orthogonal Defect Classification (ODC) taxonomy and examining the defect types, triggers and impacts, in order to identify why they reached such a later stage in the development. The paper also puts forward proposals for modifications to both the software development (to prevent defects) and the V&V activities (to better detect defects) and an assessment methodology for future works on root cause analysis.


ODC, Critical systems, Defect, Classification, Root cause analysis, Dependability


Root cause analysis of space software defects by using an enhanced ODC taxonomy.

Related Project

CECRIS – CErtification of CRItical Systems


Reliability Engineering & System Safety, Vol. 158, #2, pp. 213-229, Carlos Guedes Soares, February 2017


Cited by

Year 2017 : 2 citations

 Sobel, Karen. "Root Cause Analysis: Parsing Complex Challenges in Academic Libraries." The Journal of Academic Librarianship (2017).

 Gallina, B., R. Natella, D. Cotroneo, L. De Simone, S. Rosiello, H. Madeira, A. Lanzaro et al. "Journal special issues." Reliability Engineering & System Safety (Elsevier) 158 (2017): 152-253.