Discovery Magazine

Model Based Systems Engineering Development of a CubeSat Flight System Model

Researchers and students at Florida Tech are working closely with engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to define and develop a mission observer CubeSat mission using the latest Systems Engineering tools and techniques. CubeSats are small spacecraft that can perform a variety of functions at a fraction of the cost of a standard-sized satellite. This project consists of a Flight System Design Phase (Model-Based Systems Engineering) theory and model development) and an engineering hardware development phase. One of the newest and most effective Systems Engineering tools, called Model-Based Systems Engineering, is used to design and develop the engineering models for the CubeSat. The student-based CubeSat mission development will use Model-Based System Engineering methodologies using SysML as the modeling language with the MagicDraw software. The students will work collaboratively on the various subsystems and assemblies that comprise the Flight System (spacecraft and payloads) and these systems will be described using the Model Based Systems Engineering tools. The students will also work as a single team during the collaborative aspect of developing an integrated flight system model.

The Model-Based Systems Engineering research efforts particularly focus on flight system requirement development, interface definition, verification and validation, integration and test. This collaborative project will demonstrate the benefits, challenges and lessons learned from implementing Model-Based Systems Engineering methodologies at the flight system engineering level leading to hardware development. The flight system design team shall focus on, but is not limited to requirement definition, requirements analysis, electrical interface specification and flight system design document generation in support of hardware definition and development. If successful, a Phase 3 to develop and launch flight-system hardware will be proposed.