Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Robert A. Frederick, Jr., Dale Thomas

Committee Member

George Nelson

Committee Member

James J. Swain

Committee Member

Jason T. Cassibry


Astronautics--Systems engineering., Aeronautics--Systems engineering., Aerospace engineering., Systems integration.


As systems have become increasingly complex, engineers are relying on reuse of components and subsystems as a method to curb complexity. However, integrating these reuse components and subsystems have historically often resulted in catastrophic failures. Technical principles key to integration success and the role of reuse in these principles are not currently defined. The objective of this research is to, first, derive and validate a set of technical integration principles and subsequently to explore how incorporating reuse impacts integration success. This research uses historical system integration data and a combination of qualitative analysis techniques and quantitative techniques to draw conclusions from the historical data. Qualitative analysis techniques including case-study analysis, root-cause analysis, and thematic analysis are used to find common themes in the data to build data sets. These data sets are then quantitatively analyzed to determine what variables are associated with integration success. The results of this research identified six candidate principles of integration. The Principles of Hierarchy, Hierarchic Verification, Insight, and Optimization were all found to be statistically associated to integration success. The Principles of Reuse and Evolvability and Dependence were found to be not associated with integration success, however, the interactions between the Principle of Reuse and Evolvability and the Principles of Insight, Optimization, and Hierarchic Verification. These interactions were characterized and based on the historical integration data. Two of the manifestations of the Reuse/Hierarchic Verification and two of the manifestations of the Reuse/Insight interactions were found to be associated with integration success. The Optimization/Reuse manifestation was not found to be associated with integration success. The associated manifestations were used to formulate a set of secondary considerations that, when implemented in conjunction with reuse, will increase the probability of integration success in future integration efforts.



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