Space systems engineering employs space systems engineers who are part of the spacecraft program lifecycle from start to finish, including designing, building, testing, and, sometimes, deploying the spacecraft.
Space systems engineers have a technical understanding of all of the subsystems involved in a spacecraft, including the structural and electrical systems, thermal control, power, and communication.
In the space systems engineering sector, space systems engineers are often senior engineers with a number of years of experience in the space industry. Space systems engineers also typically have an area of special expertise, such as:
- Guidance and control
- Optical systems
- Thermal systems
Systems engineering in general is the art and science of developing an operable system capable of meeting requirements within often opposed constraints. Systems engineering is a holistic, integrative discipline, wherein the contributions of structural engineers, electrical engineers, mechanism designers, power engineers, human factors engineers, and many more disciplines are evaluated and balanced, one against another, to produce a coherent whole that is not dominated by the perspective of a single discipline.
A space systems engineer’s responsibilities depends on where they work and the project at hand. At NASA, for example, “systems engineering” is defined as a methodical, multi-disciplinary approach for the design, realization, technical management, operations, and retirement of a system.
A “system” is the combination of elements that function together to produce the capability required to meet a need. The elements include all hardware, software, equipment, facilities, personnel, processes, and procedures needed for this purpose; that is, all things required to produce system-level results.
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.