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A fundamental challenge with systems engineering has always been scaling the practices with increasingly complex systems and projects. Traditionally, systems engineering works with informal analysis and description products such as documents, slides, and spreadsheets that lack the ability to scale with respect to complete, consistent and mutually correspondent information. As systems engineers attempt to answer questions that allow decisions to be made, information about the system often lags while more detailed engineering work moves forward often without regard and integration with the larger system. This is compounded by the ability to initialize information products so quickly and cheaply with wikis, email, and a host of other electronic communications, leading to stovepipe engineering. The result is degraded understanding of the details of the system coupled with an increasing lag in the data and analysis necessary to answer crucial questions at the system level. 

JPL is currently engaged in an effort to deploy Model-Based Engineering Environment (MBEE) as a means of supporting the systems engineering (SE) of space missions. The Europa and Mars2020 pre- are both using MBSE to develop systems models of their respective Europa and Mars missions. This is necessary since the complexity of spacecraft as well as SE practices have significantly increased with newer missions.

The Europa pre-project has been building MBSE capability for the last 3 years along the lines of traditional mission development lifecycle. The goal of MBSE on Europa is to utilize systems models as the formal authoritative source for systems engineering products ensuring that the products are self-consistent and mutually correspondent. The system models constructed represent the whole range of systems engineering products from mission and flight systems concepts and designs to project systems representations. Although, initially, these system models were scribed from other sources, they have become the authoritative source for any new system information.

The Mars2020 pre-project development, on the other hand, is focused on inheriting as much from the successfully landed Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) as possible.  This “build to print” focus emphasizes a Flight System model that is able to ingest large quantities of known flight system specifications in a way that allows for validation and change traceability.  The Flight System model is used to enable reconciliation between once disparate systems engineering products, such as the Mass Equipment List and Reference Designator List.

This session will cover the current Model-Based Engineering Environment being used by projects at JPL and the work being done to develop and deploy the full MBEE. We will discuss the flight project scenarios that are currently driving the development of the MBEE and the needs that have developed out of supporting that work with the current deployment. We will also discuss the trades performed to determine the technology for deployment, the implementation and extension of SysML on a non-UML platform and the user experience studies and testing used to improve the SysML model development experience. 

The source code is available on Github:

The video is from a repeat of the presentation.

Session Recording: