In this article, we will walk through the process of implementing a simple linear regression model using the scikit-learn library in Python. The objective is to create a model, train it, test it, and utilize the model for predictions. We’ll be working with a dataset that contains information on vehicle fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

Demystifying the NASA Turbofan Jet Engine Data

NASA’s dataset, though invaluable, is complex. It comprises multivariate time series data, encapsulating operational settings, sensor measurements, and more. A thorough understanding of the dataset’s structure and variables is the foundation of our predictive journey.

Understanding the Prediction Goal: Remaining Useful Life (RUL)

Predicting the Remaining Useful Life (RUL) is the heart of aerospace prognostics. It signifies the number of operational cycles an asset, such as a jet engine, has left before reaching the end of its useful life. It is a mission-critical metric in aerospace engineering, ensuring that assets are maintained and replaced at the right time.


By the end of this tutorial, you will be able to:

  1. Use scikit-learn to implement simple linear regression.
  2. Create a linear regression model.
  3. Train the model with data.
  4. Test the model’s performance.
  5. Make predictions using the trained model.

Importing Essential Python Libraries

To get started, we need to import some essential Python packages. Ensure you have these packages installed in your environment, or you can use a package manager like Piplite to install them. Scikit-learn, a comprehensive machine learning library in Python, equips us with the tools needed for exploring the NASA dataset. In this article, we will demonstrate how scikit-learn can be used to unravel the intricacies of aerospace data.

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import pandas as pd
import numpy as np
import pylab as pl
from sklearn import linear_model
%matplotlib inline

Downloading the Data

In this tutorial, we’ll be using a dataset containing information about a vehicle Remaining Useful Life (RUL). We can download the dataset from an online source ( Here’s how you can do it using Python:

# Download and load the NASA Turbofan Jet Engine Data Set
url = ""
df = pd.read_csv(url)

# Take a look at the dataset

Understanding the Data

Before diving into the implementation of a linear regression model, let’s understand the dataset we’ll be working with. The dataset, named ‘prognostic-data-repository.csv,’ contains information about various attributes of NASA Turbofan Jet and their usage. Here are some of the key columns in the dataset:

  1. unit number
  2. time, in cycles
  3. operational setting 1
  4. operational setting 2
  5. operational setting 3
  6. sensor measurement 1
  7. sensor measurement 2 …
  8. sensor measurement 26


We will use scikit-learn to build our linear regression model. The following steps outline the process:

Initialize the linear regression model

We create a simple linear regression model using scikit-learn. The goal is to predict the remaining useful life (RUL) based on operational setting data. We fit the model to the training data and examine the model’s coefficients. Define the input variable (train_x) and the target variable (train_y). Fit the model to the training data.

# Simple Linear Regression Model
regr = linear_model.LinearRegression()
train_x = np.asanyarray(train[['OperationalSetting1']])
train_y = np.asanyarray(train[['RemainingUsefulLife']]), train_y)

# Print the coefficients
print('Coefficients: ', regr.coef_)
print('Intercept: ', regr.intercept_)

The coefficients represent the slope (coefficient) and intercept of the fitted line. In this simple linear regression model, we have only two parameters: the intercept and the slope.

Data Exploration

Before diving into the regression model, it’s essential to explore the dataset and understand the relationships between variables. In this case, we’re interested in the ‘OperationalSetting1’ attribute and its relationship with ‘RemainingUsefulLife’. We can visualize this relationship using histograms.

# Data Exploration
cdf = df[['OperationalSetting1', 'RemainingUsefulLife']]

Data Splitting

To evaluate our regression model, we’ll use a common practice of splitting the dataset into training and testing sets. We’ll use 80% of the data for training and 20% for testing. We’ll randomly select data points using a mask.

# Split the dataset into training and testing sets (80% train, 20% test)
msk = np.random.rand(len(df)) < 0.8
train = cdf[msk]
test = cdf[~msk]

Plotting Outputs

We can visualize the linear regression line fitted to our training data.

# Plot the data points and the regression line
plt.scatter(train['OperationalSetting1'], train['RemainingUsefulLife'], color='blue')
plt.plot(train_x, regr.coef_[0][0] * train_x + regr.intercept_[0], '-r')
plt.xlabel("Operational Setting 1")
plt.ylabel("Remaining Useful Life")

The red line represents the linear regression model’s prediction for Remaining Useful Life based on the OperationalSetting1 parameter.

Model Evaluation

To assess the performance of our linear regression model, we need to calculate evaluation metrics. In this case, we’ll use the Mean Absolute Error (MAE), Mean Squared Error (MSE), and the R-squared (R2) score.

from sklearn.metrics import r2_score

# Model Evaluation
test_x = np.asanyarray(test[['OperationalSetting1']])
test_y = np.asanyarray(test[['RemainingUsefulLife']])
test_y_ = regr.predict(test_x)

# Calculate evaluation metrics
print("Mean squared error: %.2f" % mean_squared_error(test_y, test_y_))
print("R2-score: %.2f" % r2_score(test_y, test_y_))

The MAE provides the average absolute error, the MSE focuses on larger errors, and the R2-score measures how well the model fits the data. The R2-score closer to 1 indicates a better fit.

Challenges in Aerospace Prognostics

The real world is often unpredictable. Aerospace data comes with sensor noise, unmodeled fault modes, and unknown initial wear levels. Dealing with these complexities is part and parcel of predictive maintenance, and scikit-learn offers the tools to tackle them head-on.


In this tutorial, we learned how to implement a simple linear regression model using scikit-learn in Python. We explored the dataset, split it into training and testing sets, created the regression model, and evaluated its performance. Linear regression is a powerful tool for modeling the relationship between a single feature and a target variable, making it a valuable tool in data analysis and prediction. In conclusion, scikit-learn and NASA’s turbofan jet engine dataset provide a practical and powerful example of how machine learning can be applied in aerospace engineering. This field is rapidly advancing, and our ability to predict the future of aerospace technology is essential and challenging.