Category Archives: Systems Engineering and Project Management

This blog posts news about systems engineering, including links to industry news and articles, and announcements of continuing education for professionals who are working in systems engineering and project management.

Bombers and Subs and Missiles, oh my!

Speaking for myself, I always considered the nuclear triad to include bombers, submarines, and missiles, but, I was wrong. Sandra Erwin points out in her Space News article, we really need to remember that these three components of the triad could not be effective without two other complimentary components, a competent work force to operate them, and a modern and reliable Nuclear Command, Control and Communications ( NC3 ) network.

Lt. Gen Jack Weinstein, Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration recently pointed out that nuclear modernization efforts cannot be strictly focused on subs, bombers, and missiles, but must also be concerned about modernizing the NC3 system, causing him to remark “The Triad also means space capability.” The Nuclear Posture Review reported that many of the components of the current NC3 system are antiquated technology which has not been modernized in almost 30 years. 

Sandra Erwin reports that the Air Force does have programs under way to modernize communications and early-warning satellites, but integration of these new systems will be very complex, and highly trained work force will be needed to build the systems.

Interestingly, Lt. Gen Weinstein has confidence in the military’s ability to train their people to operate these systems, but he expresses concern about educating the civilian workforce which will also need to be involved.

Applied Technology Institute (ATI) can play an important role in preparing the workforce which will support the future nuclear Triad since it offers a diverse collection of courses which cover all of the domains where the Triad will need to operate; air, sea, and space. Please consider looking at the current set of course offerings at ATI and consider taking some of our courses to better position yourself to make significant contributions to solving the complex problems associated with Strategic Deterrence in the future.  


The Need for Agile in Government

The Need for Agile in Government


It’s a balancing act. We all know what we want, capable and effective systems which meet or exceed all requirements, built on smaller budgets and tighter schedules. But, how do we get there?

Government work requires using Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS) processes, but that can be slow and cumbersome.   Non-Government work often uses Agile processes which are typically more streamlined and produce results in more timely manner.   So, are JCIDS and Agile processing diametrically opposed, or are they processes that can be used together in order to take advantage of the benefits of each?

Elbridge Colby, deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development, expressed his frustration recently at the annual Directed Energy Summit, co-sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton and the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. As reported by Paul McLeary in the Breaking Defense Blog, Mr. Colby said that for the past two decades, Americans have used overpowering might to fight wars, but “the Chinese and the Russians have been working to undermine that model,” Mr. McLeary believes that by spending billions on modernizing their militaries and fielding new technologies like artificial intelligence and hypersonic missiles at a faster clip than the Americans, the two countries have changed the way the United States must approach future conflict.

Mr. McLeary states that Colby underscored the view that Washington has entered an era of “long-term strategic competition” with Moscow and Beijing, and Colby used his remarks to lay down a series of challenges for defense industry types in the audience.

The traditional method of slowly testing and evaluating new technologies for year, or even decades, “ain’t gonna work any more…we need to change,” Colby said. He then went on to say that Chinese and Russian defense officials don’t keep such long development schedules, and the U.S. tech industry has scoffed at working with the Pentagon thanks in part to the cautious, time-consuming schedules so anathema to tech Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. Taking decades to field aircraft like the F-35 or Ford-class carriers might provide long-term stability, but “it doesn’t matter if we’re stronger in the global context if we lose in the Pacific or Europe” tomorrow, Colby warned.

To the defense industry, Colby said bluntly, “we’re not interested in something that’s kind of a whiz-bang thing that’s not connected to a plausible deployment or not nestled within operational concepts. We do want to encourage breakthrough and creative, kind of, activity and investment in technology, but it’s got to be something that we can actually use.”

 So, how do we deliver on the challenges proposed by Mr. Colby. This author believes that the JCIDS process is an effective one, and that it should continue to be used.   In fact, such an assertion is essential because there are no signs that the JCIDS process requirements are going anywhere soon.   We must, however, smartly integrate Agile Processes within the JCIDS methods, so that the JCID timeline can be shortened so that we are producing technology for the fleet that “they can actually use.” 

The U.S. Federal TechFAR Handbook highlights six key reasons why government should adopt agile for IT project management and development. They are as follows.

  1. Improvement in investment manageability and budgetary feasibility
  2. Reduction of overall risk
  3. Frequent delivery of usable capabilities that provide value to customers more rapidly
  4. Increased flexibility
  5. Creation of new opportunities for small businesses
  6. Greater visibility into contractor performance 

To learn more about how you might incorporate Agile Processes into your government projects, consider taking ATI courses found at the following link.


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.

Model-based Systems Engineering Fundamentals Aug 11, 2015 Columbia, MD
Model-based Systems Engineering (2 day) Aug 12-13, 2015 Columbia, MD


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.

Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Doing Business with DoD and All of Fed Government- Post-Sequestration

ATI has many customers who work for the government in defense or aerospace. We thought that this article was interesting and timely about working with agencies that are subject to sequester.
Doing Business with DoD and All of Fed Government- Post-Sequestration
July 3, 2013 By ChrisScott
Do you interact with government professionals in DoD or elsewhere in the federal government? This post may give you some important insights that may help.

Next time you make an appointment to meet with your DoD counterpart, you will most likely notice some very unpleasant changes. As you are well aware, sequestration has forced DoD to make some arbitrary cuts in ways that make no contribution towards meeting DoD goals and missions. By design, the sequestration is devoid of logic and planning, and it is breeding a sense of helplessness into an organization that prides itself on mission accomplishment.
First off: the furloughs themselves. Civil service employees in DoD are mandated to take 11 unpaid days off between now and 1 October, the end of the Fiscal Year. I have observed very few exemptions to the mandate. It appears that unless you are directly working in a combat zone, you will have to comply.
In the Navy, even the working capital employees of SPAWAR are required to furlough. Since these working capital employees are paid directly by the funds received for the projects they are working on, not paying them for these days does nothing to save USN money, and makes the programs at risk for having unobligated funds at the end of the year.
I have talked to numerous civil servants who are suffering the effects of this unanticipated 20% pay cut. You should know that when they do the math, they do NOT call it a 20% pay cut, but more than that. They have fixed expenses for their health care, insurance, retirement, etc. When the resulting 20% comes off the remainder, it is felt as more than 20% of the whole.
Secondly: the psychological effect. I have worked in DoD for many years, and I usually encounter the best and the brightest. These folks come to work with only one thing on their mind: doing the BEST job they can. They have always known that they have traded a lower income for a sense of National pride and a direct impact on the US defense mission.
Now they are being directed to work less hours and chastised that they must NOT work the full 40 hours. Their normal inclination is to suck it up and accomplish their job anyways. In fact, many of these employees are being told that there must be some pain to this policy. Some things must fall apart. For a force that prides itself on getting things done, this is having a very debilitating psychological impact.
As these employees sit back and watch their work go undone, it is only natural that they feel a sense of shame and frustration. They are being asked to do less. They are being told that their work is not important. They are being told that completing their work successfully is no longer a requirement.
I have always known that the most motivated employees are those that clearly understand their mission and have the tools and authorities to accomplish the goals. No amount of bonuses, time off, promotions, etc. can compete with the sense of well being achieved by doing a hard job well.
How this will unfold for next year is still unknown. A few organizations have obtained approval for reduction in forces (RIF). (Commander Naval Installations just announced that 745 civilian positions will be eliminated by 2014 ). It is clearly more effective to trim forces by 20%, vice rendering 100% of the forces 80% (or less) effective through furloughs.
Meanwhile, as you try to line up your meetings with DoD, some things you should know. Most commands are furloughing on Fridays. Some are bundling their Fridays with a Monday, to give them four-day weekends. During their furlough days, they are not reading/answering any emails or taking any phone calls. When they return, their emails and voice mails are backed up. If you time your request wrong, you will get lost in the backlog.
Things that were always hard are now a lot harder. DoD has not standardized their visitor requirements across the department. We all know that “boutique” solutions exist from organization to organization, usually a combination of Visitor Requests, JPAS submissions, etc. Making sure that all these t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted usually requires someone from within to connect the dots. On my recent swing through the PACOM AOR, I experienced two such disconnects. I usually bat 100%.
Finally, the meeting itself is subject to coordination across the participant organizations to find a time/date where all players are at work. With all the catching up that they are doing from their days off, and with the overwhelming sense of failure that comes from not completing your work, it’s increasingly difficult to line up productive sessions. I have found that one-on-one meetings are much more likely to be successful.
In conclusion, you will need to pay special attention to the above as you work with DoD this year. No matter how frustrated you are at the results, please remember to give a few words of encouragement. We are all in this together, whether we like it or not.

Training budgets: Smaller is not an option


The debate on the budgets for the government organizations is pretty toxic in the US. Both US Navy and US Army alongside other organizations have declared budget shortfalls which effect many areas including training. Without commitment to training and learning new skills there can be no continuous improvement, which is one of the prime directives of any government or company.

The Applied Technology Institute (ATI) specializes in short course technical training in space, communications, defense, sonar, radar, systems engineering and signal processing. Since 1984 ATI has provided leading-edge public courses and on-site technical training to defense and NASA facilities, as well as DOD and aerospace contractors. The courses provide a clear understanding of the fundamental principles and a working knowledge of current technology and applications.


When your company does not want to pay for the training you really want, as an alternative, you can:

  • Spent your own personal money and funds; if you believe in it and then you will do it
  • Find a user group who are practicing the skills you desire
  • Don’t accept the classic answer from the boss, “How does X help the business?”. If the training is relevant to you achieving a goal of being a much better employee then of course it is relevant.
  • Find another organization to work for

A training manager with a good team can:

  • Fight for your team and their training; fight for your team’s budget and don’t let the senior management take it away
  • Give up your personal training for the entire year and suggest that they allocate the extra budget to training for your team members
  • Perhaps, it is time to evaluate the relationship with the preferred supplier of training. Has your firm been getting decent value from the PSL (preferred supplier list)?
  • Find alternatives to training like brown bag lunches and/or collaborate with other businesses

Everybody needs training and self-improvement.

Please share your opinion with us by commenting below.

Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Agile Boot Camp: Practitioner’s Real-World Solutions

Agile is a wonderful springboard for team building & learning

Video Clip: Click to Watch

Presented by the Applied Technology Institute (ATI)

While not a silver bullet, Agile Methodologies are quickly becoming the most practical way to create outstanding software. Scrum, Extreme Programming, Lean, Dynamic Systems Development Method, Feature Driven Development and other methods each have their strengths. While there are significant similarities that have brought them together under the Agile umbrella, each method brings unique strengths that can be utilized for your team success. Rarely do organizations adopt one methodology in its pure form. Rather success is achieved by combining the best practices, creating a hybrid approach. The only way to Agile success is practice. Agile is an art more than a science. The art of Agile must be practiced and finely tuned over multiple iterations.

In this three-day Agile Boot Camp you will put the knowledge, skills, tools and techniques taught to work. The classroom will be broken up into Agile teams and your expert instructor will drive each team through the Agile process from Vision down to Daily planning and execution. Your instructor will answer questions with real world experience, as all of our instructors have Agile experience “in the trenches.”

This three-day class is set up in pods/teams. Each team looks like a real-world development unit in Agile with Project Manager/Scrum Master, Business Analyst, Tester and Development. The teams will work through the Agile process including Iteration planning, Product road mapping and backlogging, estimating, user story development iteration execution, and retrospectives by working off of real work scenarios.

Specifically, you will:

• Practice how to be and develop a self-organized team

• Create and communicate a Product Vision

• Understand your customer and develop customer roles and personas

• Initiate the requirements process by developing user stories and your product backlog

• Put together product themes from your user stories and establish a desired product roadmap

• Conduct story point estimating to determine effort needed for user stories to ultimately determine iteration(s) length

• Take into consideration assumed team velocity with story point estimates and user story priorities to come up with you release plan

• Engage the planning and execution of your iteration(s)

• Conduct retrospectives after each iteration

• Run a course retrospective to enable an individual plan of execution on how to conduct Agile in your environment

Who Should Attend?

Because this is an immersion course and the intent is to engage in the practices every Agile team will employ, this course is recommended for all team members responsible for delivering outstanding software. That includes, but is not limited to, the following roles:

Business Analyst, Technical Analyst, Project Manager

Software Engineer/Programmer, Development Manager, Product Manager

Product Analyst, Tester, QA Engineer, Documentation Specialist

What You Will Learn

• Practice and maintain a regular cadence when delivering working software each iteration

• Follow the team approach; start as a team, finish as a team

• Gain knowledge and understanding of Agile principles with context on why they are so important for each team

• Embrace planning from Vision down to Daily level, recognizing the value of continuous planning over following a plan

• Build a backlog of prioritized stories that provides emergent requirements for analysis that also fosters customer engagement and understanding

• Engage in more effective estimating (story points) and become more accurate by being less precise

• Pull together Agile release plans that connect you back to business expectations – including hard date commitments and fixed price models

• Apply Agile testing strategies based on unit and acceptance testing, which creates a bottom up confirmation that your software works

• Avoid the top mistakes made when rolling out Agile practices and how to craft an adoption strategy that will work in your organizational culture

Dates and Locations

For the dates and locations of these short courses, please see below:

5/2-4/2012, San Diego, CA

5/9-11/2012, Philadelphia, PA

5/14-16/2023, Phoenix, AZ

5/16-18/2012, Washington, DC

5/23-25/2012, Houston, TX

6/6-8/2012, Cleveland, OH

6/13-15/2012, Chicago, IL

6/18-20/2012, Columbia, MD

6/25-27/2012, Baltimore, MD

6/27-29/2012, Kansas City, MO

7/23-25/2012, Boston, MA

7/30-1/2012, Reston, VA

8/8-10/2012, San Diego, CA

8/27-29/2012, St Louis, MO

The Agile Boot Camp is a perfect place for cross functional “teams” to become familiar with Agile methods and learn the basics together. It’s also a wonderful springboard for team building & learning. Bring your project detail to work on in class.

Agile Project Management Certification Workshop (PMI-ACP)

You Need a Very Different Set of Tools to Manage Your IT Projects

Video Clip: Click to Watch

More than a Methodology Agile Project Management Embraces a Set of Principles

Prepare for your Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) certification while learning to lead Agile software projects that adapt to change, drive innovation and deliver on-time business value in this Agile PM training course Agile has made its way into the mainstream — it’s no longer a grassroots movement to change software development. Today, more organizations and companies are adopting this approach over a more traditional waterfall methodology, and more are working every day to make the transition. To stay relevant in the competitive, changing world of project management, it’s increasingly important that project management professionals can demonstrate true leadership ability on today’s software projects.

The Project Management Institute’s Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) certification clearly illustrates to colleagues, organizations or even potential employers that you’re ready and able to lead in this new age of product development, management and delivery. This class not only prepares you to lead your next Agile project effort, but ensures that you’re prepared to pass the PMI-ACP certification exam. Acquiring this certification now will make you one of the first software professionals to achieve this valuable industry designation from PMI.

Who Should Attend:

This Agile project management training course is designed for anyone who is considering the use of an Agile methodology for software development, including:

Project Managers, Analysts, Developers, Programmers, Testers

IT Managers/Directors, Software Engineers, Software Architects

Software Managers, Testing Managers, Team Leaders, Customers.

What You Will Learn:

• Embrace a model of continuous planning over simply following a plan

• Transform your Agile project management style from “command and control” to “empower and inspire” with your team

• Create a cadence for the team and eliminate process distractions for a dramatic boost in efficiency

• Establish credible and achievable estimates using Agile project management estimating techniques

• Communicate more transparently and reduce interruptions to your team

• Rapidly build trust with your customers through frequent and effective collaboration

Dates and Locations

For the dates and locations of this course, please see below:

5/2/2012-4/2012 Milwaukee, WI

5/9/2012-11/2012 Tampa, FL

5/9/2012-11/2012 Tampa, FL

5/22/2012-25/2012 VIRTUAL TRAINING

5/23/2012-25/2012 Columbia, MD

5/30/2012-1/2012 Raleigh, NC

6/6/2012-8/2012 Boston, MA

6/13/2012-15/2012 Washington, DC

6/18/2012-20/2012 Houston, TX

6/20/2012-22/2012 Denver, CO

6/27/2012-29/2012 Sacramento, CA

7/16/2012-18/2012 Baltimore, MD

7/18/2012-20/2012 St Louis, MO

7/24/2012-27/2012 VIRTUAL TRAINING

7/25/2012-27/2012 Oklahoma City, OK

7/25/2012-27/2012 Philadelphia, PA

7/30/2012-1/2012 Chicago, IL

8/6/2012-8/2012 Washington, DC

8/8/2012-10/2012 Kansas City, MO

8/20/2012-22/2012 Dallas, TX

8/27/2012-29/2012 Minneapolis, MN

8/29/2012-31/2012 Boston, MA

9/5/2012-7/2012 Vancouver, British Columbia

9/19/2012-21/2012 Toronto, Ontario

10/10/2012-12/2012 Calgary, Alberta

10/17/2012-19/2012 Toronto, Ontario

11/14/2012-16/2012 Toronto, Ontario

11/27/2012-29/2012 Vancouver British, Columbia

12/12/2012-14/2012 Toronto, Ontario

Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter


If your company is hiring Gen-Ys (aka Millennials) fresh out of college, you will be eager to get them folded into your operation and feeling part of the team. But you will need to handle this cohort of youngsters differently than any other generations entering the Western workforce.

At first glance, you might ask “So what is different? After all, Gen-Ys are doing the same thing other generations have done before them: Leaving college friends and lovers, settling into new job and meeting new people.” And that is true and the typical corporate socialization techniques designed to ease the transition of new employees from college to work – – – social mixers, assignment of mentors, integrated product teams, etc. – – – will also be useful for incorporating Gen-Ys into your organization. But it will not be enough because there are other, much more complex dynamics at work in the recently-employed Gen Y community. We know this because we teach courses in Project Management and we have had some eye-popping, private conversations with Gen Y attendees about their job environment, their stress levels, their egos, expectations and fears.

Gen-Ys have an additional layer of issues affecting their mindsets and, hence, their job performance. More than any previous generation, Gen-Ys:
– Have grown up with iPods and near-constant music. This is the first 100% iPod â„¢ generation and music has been a near-constant companion for them while driving, walking, jogging and even while studying or working.
– Are accustomed to very frequent social contact with friends via texting, IM and Skype. Boomers snicker at the typical Gen-Y texting with friends every few minutes and are amazed when they first see Gen-Ys on their phones while watching movies and sporting events. Tweeting their remote friends about the movie or ballgame, and even Tweeting with friends right there in the crowd with them, is commonplace for Gen Ys.
– Believe in a “flat” equalitarian culture, where levels of organization do not exist. As a freshman in college a Gen Y could email (or call or visit) the President of the university, on almost any subject, and the President would discuss the subject, and thank the student for being straightforward and for bringing the problem to light. “Chain of Command” is usually an alien concept to any Gen Ys who are at their first jobs and who lack military experience.
– Have developed comparatively fragile egos and rely on frequent feedback on how they are doing in each class and with their friendships.

So the next time a Gen Y, new to your workplace, behaves strangely or does something you as a Gen-X or Baby Boomer might consider odd put yourself in their shoes:
– The comfortable, predictable college world they have known for 4+ years is completely gone. Professors with whom they could negotiate grades and arrange for “extra credit” work when needed have been replaced by a boss who is part of an entirely different culture, and embedded in a more rigid hierarchy of departments/divisions run by anonymous bureaucrats.
– The social fabric that held their lives together is missing. The face-to-face contact with college friends and professors is gone; only a poor electronic substitute is now available to them remotely through texts, Facebook, Twitter and cell phone calls.
– A music-rich college world has been replaced at work by endless meetings, discussions and conference calls. Colleagues and bosses constantly pop by the cubicle for chats, causing the iPod â„¢ ear buds to be constantly popping in and out as well.
– They are functioning in this new world very much “in the blind”, without the comfort of frequent homework assignment and class quizzes to confirm their understanding of a subject and their comparative standing among peers. Now there is no paper graded “B” to show the Gen-Y where they can improve performance. In a new job, just when they desperately seek feedback, they get little or none from their bosses until a scheduled performance review occurs (once or twice a year, quarterly if they are lucky).

There are some simple things we can do to fix this disconnect between realities of the workplace and the expectations of our Gen Y colleagues. In the next post we’ll learn what bosses, and Gen-y workers themselves, can do to ease the college-to-work transition. And we’ll recommend a new frame of mind for Gen-X and Boomers to help fold-in the Gen-Ys who, if the rest of us are ever going to retire, must take their place in the workforce. Until then, what are YOUR thoughts?

PS: The author of this post teaches a short technical training course, Technical CONOPS & Concepts, which will be presented in Laurel, MD  on April 3-5, 2012.  Register now!

Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

ATI’s Top 5 Engineering Course Samplers of 2011

What Are the Tools of Your Trade?
Video Clip: Click to Watch
ATI specializes in short course technical training

Our mission here at the Applied Technology Institute (ATI) is to provide expert training and the highest quality professional development in space, communications, defense, sonar, radar, and signal processing. We are not a one-size-fits-all educational facility. Our short classes include both introductory and advanced courses.

ATI’s Top Five Engineering Courses for 2011

The five engineering courses for 2011 are highlighted below:

#1 Practical Statistical Signal Processing – using MATLAB

This 4-day course covers signal processing systems for radar, sonar, communications, speech, imaging and other applications based on state-of-the-art computer algorithms. These algorithms include important tasks such as data simulation, parameter estimation, filtering, interpolation, detection, spectral analysis, beamforming, classification, and tracking. Until now these algorithms could only be learned by reading the latest technical journals. This course will take the mystery out of these designs by introducing the algorithms with a minimum of mathematics and illustrating the key ideas via numerous examples using MATLAB.

Designed for engineers, scientists, and other professionals who wish to study the practice of statistical signal processing without the headaches, this course will make extensive use of hands-on MATLAB implementations and demonstrations. Attendees will receive a suite of software source code and are encouraged to bring their own laptops to follow along with the demonstrations.

Click here for the tutorial

#2 Advanced Topics in Digital Signal Processing

This four-day course is designed for communication systems engineers, programmers, implementers and managers who need to understand current practice and next generation DSP techniques for upcoming communication systems. DSP is more than mapping legacy analog designs to a DSP implementation. To avoid compromise solution appropriate for an earlier time period, we return to first principles to learn how to apply new technology capabilities to the design of next generation communication systems.

Click here for the tutorial

#3 Engineering Systems Modeling WithExcel/VBA

This two-day course is for engineers, scientists, and others interested in developing custom engineering system models. Principles and practices are established for creating integrated models using Excel and its built-in programming environment, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). Real-world techniques and tips not found in any other course, book, or other resource are revealed. Step-bystep implementation, instructor-led interactive examples, and integrated participant exercises solidify the concepts introduced. Application examples are demonstrated from the instructor’s experience in unmanned underwater vehicles, LEO spacecraft, cryogenic propulsion systems, aerospace & military power systems, avionics thermal management, and other projects.

Click here for the tutorial

#4 Wavelets: A Conceptual, Practical Approach

Fast Fourier Transforms (FFT) are in wide use and work very well if your signal stays at a constant frequency (“stationary”). But if the signal could vary, have pulses, “blips” or any other kind of interesting behavior then you need Wavelets. Wavelets are remarkable tools that can stretch and move like an amoeba to find the hidden “events” and then simultaneously give you their location, frequency, and shape. Wavelet Transforms allow this and many other capabilities not possible with conventional methods like the FFT.

This course is vastly different from traditional math-oriented Wavelet courses or books in that we use examples, figures, and computer demonstrations to show how to understand and work with Wavelets. This is a comprehensive, in-depth, up-to-date treatment of the subject, but from an intuitive, conceptual point of view. We do look at a few key equations from the traditional literature but only AFTER the concepts are demonstrated and understood. If desired, further study from scholarly texts and papers is then made much easier and more palatable when you already understand the fundamental equations and how they relate to the real world.

Click here for the tutorial

#5 Computational Electromagnetics

This 3-day course teaches the basics of CEM with application examples. Fundamental concepts in the solution of EM radiation and scattering problems are presented. Emphasis is on applying computational methods to practical applications. You will develop a working knowledge of popular methods such as the FEM, MOM, FDTD, FIT, and TLM including asymptotic and hybrid methods. Students will then be able to identify the most relevant CEM method for various applications, avoid common user pitfalls, understand model validation and correctly interpret results. Students are encouraged to bring their laptop to work examples using the provided FEKO Lite code. You will learn the importance of model development and meshing, post- processing for scientific visualization and presentation of results.

Click here for the tutorial

Course Outline, Samplers, and Notes

Determine for yourself the value of these or our other courses before you sign up. See our samples (See Slide Samples) on some of our courses.

Or check out the new ATI channel on YouTube.

After attending the course you will receive a full set of detailed notes from the class for future reference, as well as a certificate of completion. To see the complete course listing from ATI, click on the links at the bottom of the page.

Please visit our website for more valuable information.

About ATI and the Instructors

Since 1984, ATI has provided leading-edge public courses and onsite technical training to DoD and NASA personnel, as well as contractors. ATI short courses are designed to help you keep your professional knowledge up-to-date.

Our courses provide you a practical overview of space and defense technologies which provide a strong foundation for understanding the issues that must be confronted in the use, regulation and development such complex systems.

Our short courses are designed for individuals involved in planning, designing, building, launching, and operating space and defense systems. Whether you are a busy engineer, a technical expert or a project manager, you can enhance your understanding of complex systems in a short time. You will also become aware of the basic vocabulary essential to interact meaningfully with your colleagues.

ATI’s instructors are world-class experts who are the best in the business. They are carefully selected for their ability to clearly explain advanced technology.

Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Winning NASA Space Mission Proposals

This is an interesting article on Winning NASA Space Mission Proposals

NASA’s robotic space missions are awarded through a competitive proposal process. These missions can cost from $100 to $750 million dollars, not including launch services and inflight propulsion devices. They are presented to the public first as planning documents and later as announcements of opportunity, or AOs. These AOs are released by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate about once per year for cheaper missions and every few years for higher cost missions.

Announcements of opportunity are usually released in draft form about six months from the due-at-NASA date and in final form about three months from the due-at-NASA date. A month or so before the draft release, there will usually be a heads up announcement citing the particulars of the release—schedule, cost cap, etc. These announcements are posted in the NEWS page on each mission’s home page.

Explorer Class—usually capped at $200 million although Small Explorers (SMEX) can come in at $120 million. They usually focus on astrophysics and heliophysics and are released every year or so. Since 1958 there have been 92 Explorer missions.

Discovery Class—The next Discovery release in fall of 2012 is expected to be capped at $500 million. They usually focus on planetary science and are released ever 1-3 years. Since 1995 there have been 11 Discovery missions.

New Frontiers Class—A spin-off of the Discovery program, they are usually capped at $650 million. New Frontiers usually focus on planetary science.

Flagship Class missions usually cost several billion dollars and are typically the
product of study groups such as the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group
(MEPAG) or the Venus Exploration Analysis Group (VEXAG). They are
generally not announced through AOs.

More information is available at