From stakeholder viewpoint to satellite platform design, using MBSE

We intend to use an MBSE approach to develop a central repository which documents the Open Source Satellite design.

We believe that the use of the MBSE approach for our development is a core element of implementing a flexible, scalable, cost-effective, accessible and sustainable system and programme.

Our goal for the Open Source Satellite Platform is that it will be used to fulfil diverse mission types with a variety of payloads, and that the platform will be common to all of the different mission types.

The MBSE Methodology

Model-Based Systems Engineering is a Systems Engineering process paradigm that emphasizes the application of rigorous architecture modelling principles and best practices to Systems Engineering activities throughout the product life cycle. These Systems Engineering activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Requirements analysis
  • Functional analysis
  • Performance analysis
  • System design
  • Trade studies
  • System architecture specification, and
  • System Verification & Validation

MBSE Characteristics

Model-Based Systems Engineering principles and best practices continue to evolve; however, the distinctive and desirable characteristics of an MBSE approach remain constant:

  • Emphasising a precise and complete System Model as the primary work product throughout the product life cycle,
  • Promoting the use of open standards for architectural modelling and tool interoperability, where these open standards are used to specify the System Model and to serve as a common language among Systems Engineers and other stakeholders within and outside the organisation,
  • Ensuring that the System Model is requirements-driven to the extent that all model elements must be fully traceable to system and user requirements,
  • Ensuring that the System Model is architecture-centric to the extent that all model elements must maintain structural and functional integrity relationships, and support full derivation traceability across all system stakeholder Views and Viewpoints, and
  • Combining traditional Systems Engineering best practices with architecture modelling best practices.

Applying MBSE to the Open Source Satellite Programme

The modelling philosophy that we’re applying for the development of the Open Source Satellite platform is to consider each Stakeholder Viewpoint individually before creating a consolidated stakeholder picture.

Taking the Customer Viewpoint as an example, we’re decomposing Customer applications (their ‘wants’) down to a physical realisation maintaining traceability of this realisation. Our desire for this is to be able to identify and consider the impact of changing Customer wants on the realised system and to prevent the development of a system which is only compatible with a limited set of applications.

The MBSE methodology that we’ll be employing to explore the Customer Viewpoint problem space and devise a solution is illustrated in the figure below. This figure illustrates the flow through the stages and the intended objectives of completing each stage.

The Open Source Satellite Programme Modelling Methodology

We’ll provide a real-life illustration of how this approach works in a future article.

Open Source Satellite MBSE approach

What are your thoughts and perspectives on and experiences of transitioning from traditional Systems Engineering processes that are document-based and code-centric to more efficient and effective processes that are model-based? Share your insights in the comments section below. exists to create an environment that supports and enables entrepreneurial and innovative thinking, with the aim of taking the next step in small satellite capabilities.  Join our community and be part of the journey!


Thank you for your comment

Open Source Satellite Programme 22 Mar 2019

Hi Dave, We're huge fans of Trello!
The Atlassian blog really resonates with us: their stories of creating a great work culture, adapting to the future of work, and embracing team diversity are interesting reading.

Dave Johnson 19 Feb 2019

In my role as an Enterprise Software developer we use the Atlassian tool chain for source code control, requirements capture, automated builds & documentation.