The future of space engineering is model based | Jobs Vox


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A hackathon challenged aerospace students to develop a detailed digital systems model for a robotic assistant for astronauts on the Moon, capable of identifying key areas of interest before any humans landed, guiding them to their habitats used to guide and even rescue a moonwalker in distress.

The winning team from France’s Institut Supérieure de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace accomplished their task in just under two weeks, using model-based systems engineering to do so. The method involves creating digital models of space missions to manage their design, construction, testing and operation – and has been described by ESA Director-General Joseph Eschbacher as vital to the future of the agency and Europe’s wider competitiveness in space.

MBSE team won

The results of the 10-team hackathon, supported by Thales and the French space agency CNES, were presented at this year’s Model-Based Space Systems and Software Engineering workshop, MBSE2022, at the Airbus Leadership Academy in Toulouse, co-organized by ESA. , Airbus and CNES.

This annual event presents the model-based work of the Systems Engineering Advisory Group (MB4SE), a multidisciplinary team of experts from ESA, national space agencies and industry, established to encourage the use of model-based systems engineering (MBSE) in the space sector. has been assigned the task. ,

Result Presented on MBSE2022

ESA Director General Josef Eschbacher has made this a primary objective in his Agenda 2025: “ESA projects are characterized by enormous engineering efforts from teams spread geographically across ESA and industry. Digital continuity throughout the entire life cycle of projects allows for a substantial reduction in costs and efforts, and will shorten schedules. ESA will therefore digitize its full project management, using model based systems engineering for engineering and to achieve full continuity with industry, enabling the development of digital twins for both procurement and finance.,

Spacecraft are among the most complex machines ever built, so systems engineering has always been an essential element in their realization, focusing on the space system as a whole rather than on its individual subsystems. Systems engineers design the mission architecture, define a strategy for building and monitoring the integration of its sub-systems, as well as verification and validation of the overall system.

Placing a digital model at the center of mission design and development

Based on traditional systems engineering documentation for a mission. MBSE seeks to improve on that approach by using a digital model instead of describing all the different subsystems and elements, and their relationships with each other. Usually the information to be included in documents is expressed in a more structured and digitally processable way – for example, not just as words but as interactive diagrams. This allows it to be more easily processed and inspected, and used within various design and analysis software tools.

The main advantage of this approach is improved communication between all stakeholders. As soon as an update is made to the model, the change is immediately available to everyone.

model based systems engineering

Models can also be used to support design and analysis long before the system is built. For example, virtual testing can be done in simulators long before any physical hardware takes shape, and any lessons learned can be applied to optimize the design. The planning of tests and operations can also be guided by the model. Lots of data become generally accessible, rather than being lost across individual topics or project phases, available for analysis using artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to identify potential improvements, even Also for planning purchases.

Harmonization of MBSE Standards

Participants in MBSE2022 are tasked with fulfilling this unspoken vision: bringing together more than 300 engineers for approximately 50 presentations, as well as in-person with another hundred remote attendees, addressing the broad diversity of the European space community. gathered together.

Among the key challenges under discussion was the need to create a standardized classification system defining the properties of all system elements and the relationships between them – allowing different software tools to work on the same data, to enable interoperability with digital workflows. to allow.

Panel Session at MBSSE2022

The quartet of keynote speakers tackled this and other challenges, with contributions from the International Council on Systems Engineering, Thales, Airbus and ESA. Pierrick Vuilleumier, from the agency’s Earth Observation Programs department, highlighted the fact that several ESA missions in development are already using the MBSE.

Clearspace-1 captures Vespa

An early precursor was ESA Clean Space’s e.Deorbit mission, aimed at retrieving space debris, which did not proceed into its production phase, but has a successor in the form of the commercial ClearSpace-1 mission, also using MBSE. Due to remove part of a Vega Launcher upper stage from orbit in 2025.

Euclid – tasked with mapping the large-scale geometry of the universe to shed light on dark matter and dark energy – was an early adopter of ESA Science, later joined by the exoplanet-detecting Plato and Envision missions to Venus. And the agency’s TRUTHS mission, planned to measure incoming solar radiation and the radiation reflected from Earth back into space, is a pioneer on the Earth observation side.

argonaut landing

Other large-scale programs using the MBSE include Moonlight – a set of lunar satellites to bring telecommunications and navigation services to the Moon – and Galileo Second Generation, as well as the Earth Return Orbiter of ESA’s International Mars Sample Return Programme. The same is true of ESA’s contribution to the Lunar Gateway and the Argonaut European Lunar Logistics Lander, to enable precision landing of supplies to the Moon.

ESA is supporting this work with a range of research activities within its Exploration and Preparedness programme, including more than 80 projects so far proposed through the Open Space Innovation Platform open to all, that are shaping the future of space engineering. As reflects the widespread interest in digitization.


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