Systems engineering is a key function in CBSE hardware development. Key responsibilities include:
Coordinate and oversee all technical efforts in a development project so that a system or component may be designed to meet performance, cost and schedule.
Integrate all technical inputs from and between each of the project disciplines.
Ensure compatibility with all physical and functional interfaces
Identify project risks and coordinate/develop risk management protocols
Monitor and status design progress
Support project management to resolve any technical issues or problems.
To perform these responsibilities, 5 primary processes are employed:
Flow-down of science and operational requirements into the system and sub-systems levels
Engineering discipline assessments are performed to determine system development feasibility to meet performance and operational requirements and constraints
Preparation of system and subsystem design specifications
Establish system design and development methodology
Optimization of the system design (Performance, Cost and Schedule)
CBSE Projects are developed under a 4-Phase Program. Key Systems Engineering activities for each of these phases are as follows:
Phase A - Concept Feasibility
The Phase A duration emphasizes identifying system requirements for Science and Operational goals and objectives. Once these requirements are known, a system conceptual design is developed. From this conceptual design all critical technologies are identified and assessed for in-house/outsource feasibility.
Phase B - Prototype Demonstration
The Phase B program consists of the flow down of system-level requirements to the subsystem level. Critical technologies are completed and a prototype system is developed and tested against the scientific and operational requirements. The Systems Engineer is heavily involved in preparation of the proposal to develop the final product.
Phase C/D - Hardware Delivery
The Phase C/D program emphasizes optimization of the system design. Test plans are developed to verify, validate, demonstrate and certify the systems readiness and adherence to the negotitated specifications.
Phase E - Utilization
The Phase E program emphasizes on customer support and sustaining engineering to the system and/or Project during utilization of the system.
The systems integration responsibilities are a broad range of activities that take a completed system or experiment, and fly it in space. As with any government agency, the system must meet a list of requirements and technical hurdles to show compatibility with the vehicle or facility for which it will be used. The following are activities associated with systems integration at CBSE.
Interface requirements are key systems utilized by the system/experiment during the planned operational state. Interfaces are usually separated by technical discipline within our organization. These include:
1) Structural-Mechanical, 2) Electrical, 3) Software, 4) Environmental, 5) Human Factors.
The CBSE systems integration team is responsible for developing the necessary Interface Control Documentation (ICD) with NASA, or their representatives. This ICD defines applicability and controls all of the planned interfaces that our system will utilize on the vehicle. CBSE has extensive experience with Interface Control Documentation with respect to several different space vehicles. In the past, these have included Shuttle, Spacelab, SPACEHAB, ATV and the International Space Station (ISS). Current projects involve COTS vehicles SpaceX Dragon and Orbital Sciences Cygnus, in addition to ISS, ATV, HTV, and Progress.
The most important activity associated with systems integration is safety, which is defined as "the application of engineering and management principles, criteria, and techniques to optimize all aspects of safety within the constraints of operational effectiveness, time and cost throughout all phases of the system life cycle." System safety is separated between activities that occur on the ground and on-orbit. Detailed safety assessments are performed for both operations.
The CBSE verification program shall insure that all items in the system conform to the design, performance, safety and interface requirements as defined in the design specification. The systems integration group is responsible for development, coordination and implementation of each of the flight verification programs.
Since the launch of STS-100 all of our mission operations are being performed locally at the UAB Remote Payload Operations Control Center in Birmingham, Alabama. In the past, our operations team supported missions from either the Johnson Space Center, or the Marshall Space Flight Center. With the local Operations Center, technical disciplines and scientific support are readily available to make real time decisions, if required.
The Systems Integration Group at CBSE is responsible for coordination and execution of all Ground processing activities at Kennedy Space Center. These responsibilities include identifying and coordinating all resource requirements, activity planning and procedure implementation. Our systems integration group is the key interface to all of our experiment operations at KSC.
The systems engineering group at CBSE has established an excellent working relationship with the NASA and Contractor organizations at KSC. Our group is responsible for defining all of the facilities that are needed for CBSE payload processing. These facilities include both offline laboratory space for sample preparation as well as online facilities for hardware testing and checkout.
System Flight Planning
System flight planning is performed to define all of the operations and resources required to successfully operate our experiments in orbit. Resource planning is a key function that allows our team to define vehicle resources, crew resources, time constraints and operational sequences necessary to execute our planned operations.
The systems integration team is responsible for crew training. Crew training provides both an overview as well as hands- on familiarization of the experiment and its intended operations. By working with the hardware, the crew has a better understanding of the planned and unplanned operations associated with CBSE experiments.
The systems engineering group develops operational procedures for all CBSE experiments. The systems group has extensive experience in development of System procedures that meet the format requirement for ISS, and the now retired Shuttle. This past experience uniquely prepares the CBSE Systems Engineering group for future COTS vehicle requirements.