MBSE in Space: Galactic Blueprints [Visual Explainer]

Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) is a modern approach to designing and managing complex systems. Instead of relying on a myriad of documents and diagrams, MBSE leverages detailed models.

In space missions, where things are incredibly complex and costly, MBSE is becoming standard.

Intergalactic Communication and Collaboration

The model-based approach facilitates enhanced communication and collaboration among geographically dispersed teams. Space missions commonly span governmental and private organizations from multiple nations.

Design Efficiency

Leveraging digital models unlocks a more efficient design process. Engineers can quickly pinpoint risk areas and solution them before they cause problems.

Risk Mitigation

MBSE facilitates a comprehensive view of systems that aids in the early identification of risks and issues. This reduces the likelihood of major malfunctions or issues during missions.

Digital Continuity

Consistency throughout the lifecycle of space mission projects leads to a reduction in costs and errors. The streamlining of the design, development, and deployment and verification process shortens project cycles.

Rapid Prototyping

MBSE unlocks simulation capabilities so potential flaws in a system design can be identified much earlier than with document-based systems engineering.

Lifecycle Management

MBSE’s usefulness extends across a mission’s lifecycle. The continuous improvement cycle that’s facilitated improves efficiency in routine operations and mission planning for subsequent projects.

History of MBSE in Space

  • 2000s: Concept gains steam; in 2007 INCOSE launches its MBSE Initiative to champion the methodology for complex systems.
  • 2011: The Space Systems Working Group at INCOSE applies MBSE to the design of CubeSats
  • 2012: The European Space Agency – ESA begins exploring MBSE for space missions.
  • 2016: A cohort of engineers at NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration start applying MBSE to focused areas of space missions.
  • 2018: The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, an intergovernmental radio telescope initiative, starts applying MBSE for complex system design.
  • 2021: After expanding MBSE applications throughout the 2010s, the ESA declares MBSE as the standard systems engineering methodology for new missions.

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