Space systems engineers are part of the spacecraft program lifecycle from start to finish, including designing, building, testing, and, sometimes, deploying the spacecraft.
Space Systems Engineering is about understanding and controlling the response of aerospace structures to complex interactions using a broad range of technologies. A key challenge for the development of aerospace systems is the need to be as light-weight as possible, yet highly reliable.
Over the years, the aerospace industry has often been at the forefront of innovation. Take the advancements in cloud computing due to the work of aerospace systems engineers.
Aside from the ability to connect every aircraft currently flying, expanding existing satellite systems and GPS or having up to date and relevant flight information, cloud computing can also benefit the intensive simulation work necessary for aerospace design and testing.
The rise of cloud computing and connected technology is also driving developments in cybersecurity, which cuts across both aerospace and defense.
Of course, systems engineering is a crucial core competency for success in the industry. Well-established organizations such as NASA and BAE Systems stress the importance of systems engineering in order to meet requirements and succeed in missions and projects.
In the words of NASA:
Systems engineering is holistic and integrative and bridges the gap in communication between the different subsystems to produce a coherent whole.
Space systems engineering is also about stakeholder management.
A “stakeholder” is a key group or individual that is affected by or has a stake in the product or project. For NASA space systems engineers, stakeholder might include Congress, advisory planning teams, program managers, maintainers and mission partners.
It is extremely important that the list of stakeholders be identified early in the process, as well as the primary stakeholders who will have the most significant influence over the project. These stakeholders may be affected by the resulting project, the manner in which the project is used, or have a responsibility for providing life cycle support services.
Want to learn more? Tonex offers Space Systems Engineering Fundamentals, a 2-day course introducing participants to the fundamental principles of systems engineering applied to development of space systems.
Participants learn about project and systems engineering management, concept definition, stakeholders management, developing ConOps, trade studies, requirements analysis and engineering, system architecture and interface definition, system synthesis, engineering design, integration, verification and validation, operations/sustainability and system retirement (DEMIL).
For more information, questions, comments, contact us.