Welcome to the reliability.space digital handbook!#

This is the digital version of the reliability.space 2020 handbook. The handbook offers technical content in the Handbook sections and interactive content in the Models sections.


The reliability.space 2020 handbook was developed during an ESA study aiming at the development of a new reliability prediction methodology (NRPM) for space applications. The objective of the handbook is to provide a methodology that is dedicated to space, avoiding the limitations and shortcomings of existing reliability prediction methodologies which were largely focussing on ground applications. The outcome of the ESA study NRPM is denoted by reliability.space. The present digital handbook is a digitalized version of the reliability.space 2020 handbook that offers easier access, interactive content, and a contemporary design.

This digital handbook contains a methodology, a methods and four application-specific chapters for reliability prediction in space applications. These chapters can be accessed by clicking on the icons below or browsing the table of contents to the left of this page.

logo methodologies


Explains the framework and taxonomy used in the reliability.space handbook and links it to the reliability prediction process and usage, and provides guidance for users that are in charge of planning a prediction.

logo methods


Provides information on different reliability prediction and methods inputs, allowing to understand the background of the models defined in the following chapters.

logo eee


Explains the modelling of EEE components based on the FIDES methodology.

logo mechanical


Introduces different inputs and methods for mechanical reliability prediction and presents elementary reliability modelling of mechanical items.

logo miscellaneous


Introduces methods to treat parts that are difficult to classify into either EEE or mechanical.

logo system


Provides an overview of existing methods for system applications and consideration of specific aspects relevant to space applications.

Reliability prediction (RP) is not an end in itself – the ultimate goal is decision support. A “decision” in this context should be understood as any kind of engineering, project management or business choice or trade-off, including e.g. feasibility assessments and design trade-offs, decisions during operations or for safe disposal, and business planning for single spacecrafts or constellations.

The purpose of the methodology chapter (Section 1) is to provide guidance for the use of reliability prediction to support such decisions. The ground rules and scope of the prediction are defined accounting for the RP objectives and uses as well as for the project life cycle phase in which the predictions are performed. Ultimately, the goal is to select suitable methods and models to perform a prediction in a given context. The methods chapter (Section 2) contains information about the inputs and modelling approaches that can be used to develop models for reliability predictions in a given application. The discussion of methods can be used to derive new applications or update existing ones. However, the main purpose of this chapter is to form the basis for the application specific-chapters following it: EEE chapter (Section 3, Section 4), mechanical chapter (Section 5, Section 6), miscellaneous chapter (Section 7, Section 8), system chapter (Section 9, Section 10).


Fig. 1 Tasks in reliability prediction.#

Even though the handbook targets decision support, the decision-making as such is left to the user; reliability prediction is limited to providing the numbers that can be used to decide in a given trade-off situation. Also, the practical implementation and development or choice of suitable software tools is outside the scope of this handbook. As a general rule, models are provided with full detail, allowing the development of tools without any restrictions regarding the information needed to implement them.

How to use this digital handbook#


This digital handbook is supplied in a versioned format powered by ReadTheDocs. It is possible to switch between different versions of this document by selecting the desired version from the ReadTheDocs menu at the bottom of the left navigation panel. Besides the numbered versions, two special versions are distinguished:

  • latest this is the latest version of the document and might change unexpectedly.

  • stable this is the latest official version of the document and corresponds to the last released numbered version.

All versions may also be accessed (and linked to) with the following URL: https://handbook.reliability.space/en/<version>/... where <version> can be replaced by any version of this document.


The content of this digital handbook has been developed within the European Space Agency (ESA) project New reliability prediction aimed at space applications (NRPM) under ESA contract No. 4000121065/17/NL/PS (2017-2020). As part of the ESA project Adaptation of the NRPM Handbook into an ESA Handbook following the ECSS (2021-2022) under ESA contract No. 4000135482/21/NL/AR/va, updated information on the PISTIS project has been added. Otherwise, no material changes have been made to the content.

As part of the ESA project Adaptation of the NRPM Handbook into an ESA Handbook following the ECSS the contents of the handbook were structured to meet the requirements for ESA handbooks.

In the context of the digitalization and possibilities of the digital world, within the ESA project Adaptation of the NRPM Handbook into an ESA Handbook following the ECSS the consortium under the ESA contract No. 4000135482/21/NL/AR/va developed the idea to create a digital interactive version besides the classical handbook version. In the project, the digital version was developed with the aim to show which interactive possibilities exist for books and to conduct a feasibility study for the implementation.

ESA contract No. 4000121065/17/NL/PS (reliability.space) consortium:

ESA contract No. 4000135482/21/NL/AR/va consortium: