System of Systems Architecture Studies in the CDF
ESA recently added “user-focused-service-design” to its portfolio and this was taken up in the General Study Programme (GSP) study on “System of Systems Reference Models”. This GSP study identified and provided a set of necessary, basic tools and methodologies to the Agency to correctly tackle this new trend and utilise the ESA Concurrent Design Facility (CDF).The first CDF System of Systems (SoS) case study was unusual in many ways since its objectives included the implementation of a whole new type of study that enables ESA and the CDF to design, analyse and improve SoS in a concurrent way. This meant the development of an Integrated Architecture Model within the CDF as well as the selection and development of supporting models and tools. This was all applied to the Survey & Tracking element of the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) programme as the identified reference.
System of Systems
A System of Systems should be distinguished from large but monolithic systems by the independence of its elements, their evolutionary nature, emergent behaviours, and a geographic extent that limits the interaction of their elements to information exchange.
Maier, M.W., - Architecting Principles for System of Systems, 1998
To prepare for this study, the CDF had to integrate new tools and methodologies to derive architectures and analyse SoS from different “view” points such as operations, system, technology as well as to identify gaps and opportunities. The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) and its Architecture Development Model (ADM) with its various phases was identified as the method providing the best flexibility to be tailored for ESA and CDF needs. A study supporting Macromedia Flash tool was developed to observe status and progress done in each TOGAF-ADM phase and each CDF session.
The new tools and modified CDF methods enabled the study to provide the customer with an evaluated set of architectures and identified potential additional services.
This CDF activity had multiple challenges although many of the requirements of a SoS study such as an open minded, multi disciplinary team of experts complemented the existing Concurrent Engineering (CE) philosophy. This allowed an easier introduction of new functions and roles including external and internal partners as part of the team.
The outcome of the study was a complete assessment of the various technical views as well as those associated with the operations, programmatics, cost, risk and simulation.
The exercise showed that the CDF is an excellent place to perform System of Systems feasibility studies and shall play a major role in SoS architecting activities, since the concurrent design approach elements interlink perfectly with the TOGAF-ADM approach. Follow up activities have already been identified, while in parallel the procurement, further development and integration of new models and tools into the CDF environment is finalised, to assist specific ESA programmes like GMES, Galileo, SSA, IAP and in general service oriented architectures.