Real-Time-Interaction between Concurrent Engineering Facilities
On the 20th of December 2005, engineers of Alcatel Alenia Space-Italia (AAS-I) and Politecnico di Torino (POLITO) were at ESTEC CDF to present and demonstrate the results of the ITI-RTI (Real Time Interaction between Concurrent Engineering facilities) project, developed under the Innovation Triangle Initiative (ITI).
The project aimed to highlight the technical issues and requirements emerging when concurrent engineering has to be established between facilities geographically distributed. The project also gave the opportunity to assess new solutions for data sharing and tools integration, exploring new technologies as XML and Web Services.
The prototype, developed within the ITI-RTI project, is based on the implementation of a dedicated communication layer and was used to demonstrate data sharing and interaction between the ESTEC CDF and the counterpart facility in AAS-I Torino, during a simulated session of a space project review.
During the demonstration, engineers in AAS-I and in ESTEC jointly analysed a Mars re-entry capsule design by interacting via videoconference, desktop sharing and accessing the ITI-RTI web services provided by POLITO. The services made available on this occasion were an Orbital Propagator and a CAD shape optimizer. ESA-CDF engineers provided mission data while AAS-I engineers provided the CAD model of the capsule.
The proposed architecture for this prototype, deployed over Wide Area Network, is based on three elements:
• Clients, installed at user premises, allowing them to access the RTI Services and Applications
• Application Web Servers (one for each service/application) allowing an application to be “exposed” as Web Service.
• A Master Web Server to manage all communications between Users and “exposed” Services
This architecture allows all actors to have full control of data and tools ownership and is fully compliant with the Firewall/Proxies security policies of all involved sites (ESA-ESTEC, AAS-I, POLITO).
This project represents an important step towards the implementation of a Distributed Concurrent Design Facility.