Space for Engineering Leaders
The CDF was recently honoured to give a presentation of its services and a tour of its facilities to several representatives of the Dutch organisation KIVI NIRIA, the Royal Institution of Engineers in the Netherlands, on the occasion of the symposium for engineering leaders jointly organised by ESA and KIVI NIRIA and held in the Space Expo Centre of Noordwijk.
The symposium was advertised as the place to come to find out about concurrent design, tiger teams, skunk works and collaboration with ESA and was attended by more than 100 engineers, representing several industrial sectors and Dutch organisations.
The ESTEC Director Michel Courtois gave an opening presentation and took this opportunity to announce ESA's intention to create a Skunk Works infrastructure within the Space Business Park in Noordwijk. This infrastructure will include a CDF like facility, that would also be available for non-space applications.
The guest speaker for KIVI NIRIA was Rogers Smith a distinguished NASA test pilot and engineer who participated in numerous test programs including the X-29, X-31 and SR-71. He had been invited to talk about the leadership philosophy of Kelly Johnson, who created and led the famous Lockheed “Skunk Works”.
As well as the presentation on the CDF by Massimo Bandecchi and Rogers Smith presentation on the Skunk Works, the symposium discussed the influence of engineering management in the design to development process. The attention of the audience was focussed on the applications and advantages of a concurrent engineering approach such as ESA’s Concurrent Design philosophy, as well as Tiger Team scenarios and other evolving methodologies to improve the efficiency of engineering processes and engineering leadership.
The input and feedback from engineers working in other industries was timely and beneficial to ESA’s forward planning.