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As ESA engineers work together to design a future space mission, it takes virtual shape before them in three dimensions.
This 3D visualisation system is one of many state-of-the-art networking tools found in the Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) at ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
The CDF’s network of computers, multimedia devices and software tools allow experts from different engineering disciplines to work in close coordination, in the same place at the same time, to complete the most complex designs imaginable – in a matter of a few weeks rather than several months.
The CDF enables ‘concurrent engineering’ based on teamwork and focused on a common design model that evolves iteratively in real time as the different subsystem experts make their contributions. It has proved an influential approach over the CDF’s 15 years of operations, helping to inspire new ways of working for Europe’s hi-tech industries.