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MBSE and SysML are important to NASA because as NASA continues its move into greater use of models for formulation and development of NASA projects and programs, there are recurring challenges to address.

Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) is used to deal with complex systems such as spacecraft

Most analysts agree, spacecraft systems engineering is a challenging undertaking. While the implementation of MBSE within an organization can also be a complex and daunting task, the potential benefits that MBSE can yield make it worth investigating.  

NASA, for example, continues to pursue improvements in small spacecraft capabilities and reliability, especially for the deep space environment. Small spacecraft can help NASA achieve science and exploration goals with novel and more affordable mission architectures, including architectures based on ensembles of small spacecraft or that augment larger conventional spacecraft with small spacecraft.

Consequently, NASA seeks innovative MBSE methods and tools to define, design, develop, analyze, execute, and validate future small spacecraft missions through development of advanced methods and tools that enable more rapid, comprehensive, deeper, and integrated spacecraft design across the entire project lifecycle from concepts through system operations and end of mission disposal.

The capabilities leverage MBSE approaches being piloted across NASA and enable agile integration of disparate model types and various discipline tools.

MBSE methods also enable disciplined system analysis for the design of future missions, including modeling of decision and programmatic support for those missions. Such models might also be made useful to evaluate technology alternatives and impacts, science valuation methods, and programmatic and/or architectural trades, including potential mission architectures comprised of multiple spacecraft.

Spacecraft MBSE has also become important in satellite assembly, integration and testing (AIT) activities. The main objective in this phase of a space program development is to achieve a high degree of confidence that the satellite complies with its specified performance parameters.

The AIT process involves huge team effort, and represents one of the major parts of the cost and schedule of space programs. The current AIT literature is focused on the activities efficiency (using less resources), as well as in the use of Concurrent Engineering to anticipate requirements to the initial phases of the project.

Want to learn more? Tonex offers Spacecraft MBSE and SysML Training, a 4-day hands-on course that provides participants with the knowledge and skills to develop SysML diagrams of a small satellite using SysML within MBSE framework.

Spacecraft MBSE and SysML Training helps participants to create SysML Diagrams for a Spacecraft System and System of Systems (SoS) using an MBSE approach.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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