Archive for category Systems Engineering & Project Management
Nice live steaming video with soothing background music.
Earth from the ISS HDEV cameras aboard the International Space Station. Watch the earth roll by courtesy of the ISS cameras (2016). Captured by ISS HDEV cameras on board the International Space Station.
The people in the Mission Operations Center — “the MOC” — had been tracking NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft for 9½ years as it journeyed the breadth of the solar system. It was just 10 days away from the dwarf planet Pluto when, at 1:55 p.m. on July 4, it vanished.
The disappearance of the spacecraft challenged the New Horizons team to perform at its highest level and under the greatest of deadline pressures. They did work efficiently and saved the mission. We all wish the New Horizons team the best as they approach the busiest time of the fly-by encounter. I have known and respected many of the engineers and scientist for more than 20 years and am happy to praise their skills.
The nature of the New Horizons mission did not permit any wiggle room, any delays, any do-overs, because it was a flyby. The spacecraft had one shot at Pluto, tightly scheduled: When it vanished, New Horizons was going about 32,000 miles per hour and on track to make its closest pass to Pluto, about 7,800 miles, at precisely 7:49 a.m. July 14.
But as the New Horizons team gathered in the control room on July 4, no one knew whether their spacecraft was still alive.
Because New Horizons is so far away, it takes 4 1/2 hours for a one-way message between the spacecraft and the MOC. That means whatever happened to New Horizons on July 4 had actually happened 4 1/2 hours before the people in Mission Operations knew about it.
The team figured out what had gone wrong. The spacecraft’s main computer had been compressing new scientific data for downloading much later. At the same time, it was supposed to execute some previously uploaded commands. It got overloaded; the spacecraft has an “autonomy” system that can decide what to do if something’s not quite right. That system decided to switch from the main to the backup computer and go into safe mode.
Read more at
Additional information about the start of the New Horizons mission and the key roles played by ATI instructors who worked (and are still working) on the New Horizons mission see
When we think about the ground system on a space mission we tend to consider all the systems associated with commanding, receiving and archiving telemetry, and all the communications systems and equipment that makes that all work. We plan contingencies, and redundancies, we back up everything in multiple formats, and on long duration missions like New Horizons someone eventually has to address “how are we going to keep all that stuff on the ground running for 10 – 20 years”- and produces a Longevity Plan.
But once everything is all setup, and operational, and all the staff are at their stations on launch day – having already given the first “Go For Launch” pole responses with 5 hours till launch – You have to wonder, did anyone ever consider what to do if the entire JHU/APL campus goes dark!
No one had. And with a newly installed cutover for the main (PEPCO) power feed providing an automatic transfer to a backup (BGE) feed no one expected to ever need the capability, let alone that it would failed to transfer. It did- at about 5:30 am on launch day while I was on console at KSC. The rapid application of backup generators to sustain the Mission Operations Center at APL only solved half of the issues… Network switches and routers were scattered across campus, most only running on UPS Power until that failed too… there was no cooling air to keep everything operating within normal temperatures on January 18, 2006… Things were going from bad to worse and the Mission System Engineer was heard to say “ I’ve seen how quickly a Launch day can get deep into the contingency plan, I’m not starting a launch when we are already this deep into solving unplanned contingencies”. This resulted in the launch being scrubbed and resumed on January 19th after power and environmental control systems were restored campus wide at APL.
Fortunately, I spent the time that afternoon to write the whole thing up in case I was asked to give a report, I’ve got pictures of generators outside Building 13, with external air handlers and chillers hosed up to blowers and leaks flooding the hallways… It was a ZOO!. I was safe at KSC and we restarted the count for a successful launch on the 19th.
Steve Gemeny teaches Ground Systems Design & Operations http://www.aticourses.com/ground_systems_design.htm course for ATICourses.
Other scientists & engineers that worked on the New Horizons and also teach for ATI are:
1. Dr. Alan Stern http://aticourses.com/planetary_science.htm
2. Eric Hoffman
3. Chris DeBoy
4. Dr. Mark E. Pittelkau http://www.aticourses.com/attitude_determination.htm
5. Douglas Mehoke http://www.aticourses.com/spacecraft_thermal_control.htm
7. Timothy Cole
8. Robert Moore http://www.aticourses.com/satellite_rf_communications.htm
9. Jay Jenkins http://www.aticourses.com/spacecraft_solar_arrays.htm
Attend Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) Fundamentals (1-day) and the follow-on MBSE Applications courses (2-days)
My name is Zane Scott and I teach the Model-Based Systems Engineering courses for Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses). I want to invite you the ATI’s Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) Fundamentals (1-day) and the follow-on MBSE Applications courses (2-days). The Model-Based Systems Engineering Fundamentals course includes discussion of real-life benefits from this approach versus the traditional document-centric systems design methodology. The two-day follow-on class provides in-depth practical advice and case studies based on specific satellite and defense systems case studies.
The benefits of MBSE from a program manager/sponsor perspective are emphasized in day 1, which is available as a stand-along course for Program Managers and other non-technical sponsors. The two-day follow-on class provides in-depth knowledge for the working systems engineer. These courses are practical and useful in managing complex systems design projects utilizing MBSE which promises to impact projects positively by improving communication among the team, promoting reuse (and associated cost/risk reduction), and maintaining traceability from the requirements through validation and verification.
But are these promises fulfilled and results documented? Case studies are used to illustrate the practical benefits of MBSE. MBSE was recently used on a student project at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. The student team was so impressed by the effectiveness of this approach that they recorded a 2014 case study webinar. This success story is especially beneficial for Systems Engineering Managers seeking to clearly understand the Return on Investment from MBSE.
Systems Engineering practitioners will appreciate the in-depth practical system design process outlined in day 2 and 3 of this course with reference to the CubeSat program case study. The Embry-Riddle EagleSat program took off in 2012 as part of NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative. The student-run, professor-guided organization has a goal of flying Embry-Riddle’s first satellite, a fully functioning 10-centimeter cube focused on analyzing the susceptibility of computer memory to solar radiation, while also mapping the body’s orbital decay over time.
The systems engineering effort, undertaken through the use of MBSE, has played a critical role in requirements management and maintaining design traceability throughout the development process and across all six subsystems. The choice to use MBSE comes from the approach’s inherent ability to document complex element relationships while easily and fully communicating these to other team members through generated reports and descriptive diagrams.
Please consider attending either the 1-day Fundamentals class if you need an overview, or the full 3-day class to learn how to effectively apply MBSE to real-world, complex systems engineering projects.
New INCOSE Handbook – New CSEP Opportunities
The newest INCOSE SE Handbook (version 4.0) is expected this month (June 2015). Now is a great time to plan for the CSEP/ASEP exam best suited to you, because the transition gives you a choice!.
Insider Hint – Since the CSEP application process can be long and time intensive, sign up first to become an ASPE. Once you pass the exam, you then can take your time to complete the more demanding CSEP application process.
The Handbook was delayed to coincide with the recent release of ISO-15288. Now INCOSE will offer a transition period for you. From now through December 2015, the current exam will continue to be primary, based on Handbook v3.2.2. The new exam will become primary in January 2016 – but the new exam can also be available by special request as early as July.
ATI matches the transition with our Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP) Preparation course. You can still take our 2-day course based on Handbook v3.2.2 on July 7-8, 2015 in Chantilly, VA. Or you can expand your knowledge with our new 3-day version based on Handbook 4.0 on September 24-26 (and forward). The new course will cover the significant expansion in the new Handbook (another 50 pages!) and will also include more exercises and activities to help you “seal in” the knowledge for the exam.
You can choose! Take the shorter course and get your ASEP/CSEP now, before the change – or take the longer course to get the full set of new knowledge and more learning activities. Either way, you advance your career by gaining the INCOSE certification!
This YouTube channel has several good video produced by Raytheon explaining their radar and Ballistic Missile Defense systems.
ATIcourses has two courses that fully explain the Aegis Combat System and Aegis Ballistic Defense systems. These courses are offered as open enrollment public courses and customized onsite courses.
- Aegis Combat System Engineering
- Naval engagements can be divided into three major functions: Detect, Control, Engage. The Aegis Combat System (ACS) is the first to tightly integrate, interlace, and overlap all three functions into one. The central integrating element of the ACS is the Aegis Weapon System (AWS) which is a multifunction radar and fire control system designed for the Navy’s anti-air warfare (AAW) mission of fleet defense. The system conducts AAW engagements, starting with surveillance and tracking by the SPY-1 radar; application of engagement doctrine by the Command and Control system; intercept calculation, weapon selection, launch, and guidance of the Standard Missile by the Weapon Control system; and terminal homing by the Fire Control System using the MK-99 illuminator. Attendees will study the System Engineering processes: concept definition; design: and implementation; and understand application in design and upgrade configurations. Focus will be on engineering of the Weapon System including Standard Missile and Aegis Combat System integration. Program and Project Managers, Contract Administrators, Quality Managers, and Engineers (all disciplines) can accelerate their ability to understand ACS design competences.
- Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense
- What You Will Learn: The main focus will be on engineering of the Weapon System, including Standard Missile and Aegis Combat System integration. Attendees will develop an understanding of the Aegis BMD mission, as well as the system concept definition, design, and implementation based on a mature AWS development philosophy. Attendees will develop an understanding of how Aegis Combat System was upgraded to include the additional BMD mission while maintaining all existing Aegis operational warfare capabilities. Students will examine how the System Engineering process ensures that systems are developed to meet mission performance objectives which are affordable, operationally effective, and timely.
Dr. Robert (Bob) A. Nelson was an engineer’s engineer. He was a well-respected first as a physics teacher, and then after earning his PhD, as a satellite communications expert, an author, a consultant and an instructor for the Applied Technology Institute course Satellite Communication Systems Engineering. Bob was president of Satellite Engineering Research Corporation, a consulting firm in Bethesda, Maryland. He also served for a number of years as the Technical Editor for Via Sat magazine. He was a coauthor of the textbook Satellite Communications Systems Engineering (second edition).
Dr. Nelson was born in Mount Vernon, New York August 14, 1944. Bob died on Sunday April 28, 2013 after a many month battle with cancer. In spite of the cancer he remained professionally active until the end teaching, and even chairing a technical session during the Satellite 2013 conference in April 2013. He will be missed.
Dr. Nelson performed studies on satellite communications, orbit and constellation analysis, and spacecraft design for Space Systems/Loral, GLOBALSTAR, ICO, Sirius Satellite Radio, Arinc, NASA, Naval Research Laboratory, and many other companies and government agencies.
Dr Nelson earned a degree in Engineering Physics from Lehigh University and decided that he was called to the teaching profession. He went on to complete a Master of Education from Lehigh and became a Physics and Math teacher for 15 years in Armonk, New York. His interest in Physics continued to grow and Bob his PhD in Physics from the University of Maryland He was a licensed Professional Engineer. He taught in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland and the long-running short course Satellite Communication Systems Engineering for ATIcourses.
Dr. Nelson’s clients included Space Systems/Loral, GLOBALSTAR, ICO, Arinc, Naval Research Laboratory, Lockheed Martin, Ball Aerospace, NASA and many other companies and government agencies. He was an active member of the Space and Satellite community and was recently moderator at the Satellite 2013 session “Quest to Defy Physics: Ka-band and Rain Attenuation”. He is coauthor of the textbook Satellite Communication Systems Engineering, 2nd ed. (Prentice Hall, 1993). Dr. Nelson was the Technical Editor of Via Satellite magazine. He was a member of IEEE, AIAA, APS, AAPT, AAS, IAU, and ION.
Essays on Space and Satellite Communications — by Robert A. Nelson
- Advances in Spacecraft Technology
- Antennas: The Interface With Space
- Earth Station High Power Amplifiers — KPA, TWTA, or SSPA?
- Earth Station Technology — The Smarts Behind the Dish
- The Global Positioning Satellite
- The International System of Units (SI)
- Iridium: From Concept to Reality
- Modulation, Power, and Bandwidth — Tradeoffs in Communication Systems Design
- A Primer on Satellite Communications
- What Is the Radius of the Geostationary Orbit?
- Rain — How It Affects the Communications Link
- Rocket Science — Technology Trends in Propulsion
- Satellite Constellation Geometry
- Spacecraft Battery Technology
- V-Band — Expansion of the Spectrum Frontier
Dr Nelson was a respected and trusted colleague who had a passion and dedication for everything that he did.