ESA and the CDF have organised the first Workshop on 'Concurrent Engineering for Space Applications' at ESTEC on 30 September and 1 October 2004. The Workshop included presentations of papers from the main European partners (agencies, industry and academia) as well as papers from the United States, including NASA.
Why hold a workshop on concurrent engineering (CE) for space?
"ESA has been applying concurrent engineering in space systems design and operations for several years and the CDF has existed for about 6 years. Some of our partners in other space agencies and industry have been adopting and exchanging ideas on such methods in their own design offices. It is timely for the space community to get together and exchange experiences and ideas on employing concurrent engineering and the infrastructure and tools required in their own environment," says Ross Henderson, Senior Systems Consultant in the CDF, and member of the workshop technical committee.
How can CE improve the way Europe develops satellite and other space missions?
"The space industry is a highly integrated one in Europe. Working methods that have common and standard aims, interfaces and outputs within constrained budgets are ideal for the concurrent engineering approach. A space project involves many partners in its implementation, development and operation. Integrating the way in which we work and exchange information at all stages of a project is an essential part of our work given the available budgets and resources, that is our skilled people. As a method, CE aims to reduce the lead-time for product development and delivery, improve quality, reduce cost and provide for continuous improvement.
All these goals are well known to those of us working on space projects. Our experience at ESTEC has shown that CE in the initial phases of space system design and some later phases of development provides major improvements in several areas. For example, we save time needed, we achieve quality, we share knowledge and ensure good communication between experts and the user. Extending this throughout the European space community will enable us all to achieve our prime goal of providing Europe with practical, successful, important and inspiring space missions."
The workshop included four sessions:
- Concurrent design centres
- Application of CE in Space Systems Design
- Towards integration of distributed centres
- Performance and Standards
and a round table.