Orbital Transports is happy to announce that we've been selected to receive a NASA SBIR Phase I award for our proposal to develop Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) methods and tools to improve capabilities and reliability in small spacecraft missions. These methods and tools will enable rapid, comprehensive, deeper and more integrated spacecraft design across the entire life cycle from initial concept through system operations and end of mission disposal. This work will build on our contributions to and involvement with the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) Space Systems Working Group on applying the MBSE approach to CubeSat missions.
Model-Based Systems Engineering is a formalized application of modeling to support system requirements, design, analysis, verification, and validation activities beginning in the conceptual design phase of a system and continuing throughout its development and later life cycle phases. In traditional systems engineering approaches considerable information is generated about the system and is typically contained in documents and other artifacts, including specifications, interface control documents, trade studies, analysis reports and verification plans, procedures and other reports. This information is often difficult to maintain and synchronize, and assess in terms of correctness, completeness and consistency.
In contrast, the MBSE approach captures this information in a system model or set of models. The system model is a primary artifact of the systems engineering process and represents the source of truth about the system. Changes to an element in the model propagate automatically, updating all references to that element and maintaining consistency across the entire model. MBSE enhances the ability of the systems engineering team to capture, analyze, share and manage the information associated with the specification and development of a system. New standard model templates, MBSE methodologies and best practice patterns, and suites of integrated modeling tools will improve spacecraft correctness and reliability, reduce development costs, and speed time to delivery for small spacecraft missions.
"We've been using MBSE methods and tools to accelerate our delivery of small satellite missions and reduce costs," said Orbital Transports CEO David Hurst. "I'm excited that NASA selected our work in this area for further development."