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Space Systems Engineering Course


Space Systems Engineering Course the Pilot Lisa Guerra Exploration Systems Mission Directorate NASA Headquarters October 16, 2008 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Space Systems Engineering Course


Space Systems Engineering Course the Pilot
Lisa Guerra Exploration Systems Mission
DirectorateNASA Headquarters lisa.a.guerra_at_nasa.
gov October 16, 2008

Systems Engineering at UT-Austin
  • Motivation
  • The University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin) is
    responding to the NASA Administrator's call to
    develop systems engineers for NASA's exploration
  • Response
  • Under the sponsorship of the Exploration Systems
    Mission Directorate (ESMD), UT-Austin invited Ms.
    Lisa Guerra to help create a systems engineering
    program within aerospace engineering to be
    responsive to the post-2010 needs of ESMD and the
    Constellation Program.
  • The intent is for the course to be a pilot,
    transferable to other universities operating
    within NASA's Space Grant Consortia.

The Pilot Class Students
Space Systems Engineering, Spring 2008 Department
of Aerospace Engineering The University of Texas
at Austin
Quotes from Students in Pilot Class
  • It was a big picture view of what we may be
    involved in as engineers of the future.
  • I liked how so many of the assignments asked us
    to evaluate the decisions made by NASA employees
    from the past. It made the homework so much more
    fun because its as if we were the NASA employees
    making those same important decisions.
  • It made us think about problems beyond the right
    answer and the gray area behind all decisions.
  • It is the real-world application that makes the
    course attractive.
  • Taking this course makes an engineer realize
    there is much more to engineering than designing
    a given component to a set specification.This
    course really teaches all the factors that go
    into producing a viable space system, and some
    tools to achieve that end.
  • The QA during lecture was often the most
    insightful because of the different perspectives
    on the topic. It was so valuable to allow the
    class to interact.
  • Its the glue!

Space Systems Engineering Course The Pilot
  • Taught in the Spring 2008 semester to 21
    hand-selected students (with GPAsgt3.0) in the
    UT-Austin Department of Aerospace Engineering.
  • Student level of experience
  • From both junior and senior level
  • Some had completed the senior capstone design
    course the previous semester
  • Variety of work experience government and
    industry co-ops student satellite build projects
  • Added participation feature
  • The teaching assistant, John Christian, just
    completed a MS degree in aerospace engineering
    from Georgia Tech with an emphasis on System
    Design and Optimization.
  • One of the students was the lead systems engineer
    for the Texas2Step satellite build project
    (sponsored by AFRL).
  • The capstone design professor, Dr. Wallace
    Fowler, audited the entire course.

Not trying to make everyone who takes the course
a systems engineer, but trying to give aerospace
engineering students a systems perspective as
they approach their capstone design project.
Course Goal
Perspective on the Space Systems Engineering
  • What is course based on?
  • Systems engineering handbooks and primers from
    NASA and DoD
  • Variety of professional training materials on
    systems engineering
  • NASA missions, experience base and documents to
    provide examples for systems engineering topics,
    including my own experiences
  • My observations of 2 senior design classes and 1
    graduate design class
  • No particular systems engineering textbook
    affiliated with course
  • What perspective?
  • The aerospace perspective what does it take to
    put a space system together
  • Practical not theoretical use of concrete
  • Tools oriented, e.g., cost models, analytical
    hierarchy process, FMEA
  • Who is course designed for?
  • Serves as prerequisite (junior year) to a senior
    aerospace design class
  • Could also offer to seniors, as well as other
    engineering discipline students
  • Currently working with EE and ME departments for
    a Masters level version.

Perspective on the Space Systems Engineering
  • What competencies are emphasized?
  • Obtain a working knowledge of systems engineering
  • Execute certain systems engineering tools
  • Improve techniques for communicating and
    critiquing products
  • Be prepared to execute a student design project.
  • How is the course structured?
  • Structured in a modular fashion, such that
  • Module topics can be inserted into existing
  • Modules can be re-ordered according to teaching
  • Modules can be added or deleted based on topic
  • Module lengths vary some may take 2 class
    lectures to complete the content.
  • Modules contain notes pages and backup slides for
    additional content or further explanation.

Sequence of Modules Included in Space Systems
Engineering Course
  1. What is systems engineering?
  2. Teamwork
  3. Project life cycle
  4. Mission scope and concept of operations
  5. System architecture
  6. System hierarchy and work breakdown structure
  7. Analytical hierarchy process
  8. Requirements development basics writing
    management of
  9. Functional analysis
  10. System synthesis
  11. Design fundamentals
  12. System interfaces
  • Margins
  • Technical Performance Measures
  • Cost analysis
  • Risk analysis
  • Technology Readiness Levels
  • Trade studies
  • System reliability
  • Validation Verification
  • Technical reviews
  • Schedule development
  • Systems engineering management roles/plans
  • Engineering ethics

New modules not in pilot
Additional Topics in Pilot but not Included in
Distributed Materials
  • Probability Statistics Primer
  • Professor from Operations Research department
    guest lectured
  • Aerospace engineering students not required to
    take in undergraduate course sequence
  • Monte Carlo Analysis
  • One of the assignments applied the technique.
  • Tutorial provided to understand how to use and
    program in Matlab.
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • In future semesters, will be addressed as part of
    the new 1 hour Spacecraft Systems Modeling Lab.
  • This lab will be a co-requisite to the Space
    Systems Engineering course.

Course Special Feature
  • Pause and Learn Opportunity
  • Use of project examples, particularly the James
    Webb Space Telescope (JWST)
  • Requirements documents
  • Technology story
  • Technical performance measures
  • Work breakdown structure
  • Concept of Operations
  • Associated and current readings related to
    systems engineering, examples
  • NY Times article, 2007
  • M. Griffin SE speech at Purdue, 2007
  • M. Griffin architecture lecture, 2008
  • Crosslink cost article, 2001
  • NASA ASK management article, 2007

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)
Student Assignments from the Pilot Course
  • Homework assignments
  • Group and Individual
  • Writing and problem-solving/programming
  • One assignment per week
  • Periodic group presentations
  • Exams
  • Mid-term (1 hour) in-class
  • Final (3 hours allotted, but took 2 hours)
  • Semester-long assignment
  • Select a book from the suggested reading list
  • Write a 10 page paper discussing the book and its
    relevancy to the systems engineering learning.
  • Samples from the list

Additional Course Resources
  • Reference documents
  • NASA Systems Engineering Handbook 2007 1995
  • Defense Acquisition University Systems
    Engineering Fundamentals 2001
  • SMC/AF Systems Engineering Primer Handbook, 2005
  • DVDs for student viewing
  • So You Want to be a Systems Engineer? Personal
    Behaviors of a Systems Engineer 53 mins. 2005
  • Systems Engineering When the Canvas is Blank
    45 mins. 2007

Gentry Lee, JPL
Results from Official UT-Austin Course
Evaluation Survey
  • Background
  • 21 surveys returned
  • Values were assigned on a 5-point scale
  • Most favorable response 5
  • Least favorable response 1
  • Course well-organized 4.7
  • Communicated information effectively 4.6
  • Showed interest in student progress 4.8
  • Student freedom of expression 4.9
  • Course of value to date 4.9
  • Overall course rating 4.7

Student Evaluation of Class Structure(from
unofficial survey)
  • Scoring
  • (1) strongly disagree (2) disagree (3) no
    opinion/neutral (4) agree (5) strongly agree
  • Use of class interaction and QA with the
    professor was at the right level.
  • Class video and guest lecturer enhanced learning
    and reinforced topics.
  • The use of lecture briefing notes and not a
    textbook was an adequate delivery of the
  • Additional materials (such as JWST examples or
    outside readings) enhanced lecture notes.
  • Learned new concepts and methods with assignments.

4.3 3.8 4.3 4.5 4.6
ABET Criteria 2000 Outcomes Achieved
This course contributes to the following EC2000
Criterion 3 outcomes.
Outcome Outcome
a. An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering ? g. An ability to communicate effectively ?
b. An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data h. The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global/societal context ?
c. An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs i. A recognition of the need for and an ability to engage in life-long learning
d. An ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams ? j. A knowledge of contemporary issues ?
e. An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems ? k. An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice ?
f. An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility ? l. Begin list of any other outcomes unique to the program.
New Course Features from Summer Update
  • Space Systems Engineering Course materials
    reviewed and updated by Paul Graf, University of
  • Added new modules to focus on System Synthesis,
    System Architecture, and Interfaces.
  • Provided updates to existing pilot modules. (
    sanity check)
  • Provided additional space mission examples.
  • Provided more articles for reading assignments.
  • Suggested alternative semester-long project using
    mission failure reports.

Potential Topics to Include in Future Versions
  • Software design and development
  • Acquisition Strategy
  • Earned Value Management (EVM)
  • Specialty engineering
  • Human Factors,
  • Maintainability,
  • Logistics support, etc.
  • Topic ideas from students in pilot class
  • Quality methodologies, e.g., six sigma, ISO-9000
  • Team staffing and retention
  • Use of best practices and benchmarking
  • Communication skills
  • Legal issues

Charge to Workshop Audience
  • Today, version 1.0
  • Welcome exchange of ideas
  • Leveraging the resources of academic community to
    share material to make this better
  • Lessons learned in teaching this material
  • New module development and inclusion in later

Questions or Comments?
L. Guerras Planned Efforts for 2009-2010
  • Develop website to continue dissemination of
    systems engineering curriculum
  • Allow for publication of updates
  • Enable sharing of improvements and lessons
    learned from faculty using the materials
  • Enable faculty grants to improve course materials
  • Enhance communication on systems engineering
  • Participate at the ASEE National Conference (2009
    in Austin) Presentation/workshop on NASAs
    systems engineering activities
  • Develop graduate-level course based on
    undergraduate Space Systems Engineering course
  • Initiate a Masters degree program in Systems
    Design at UT-Austin (with ASE, EE ME