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Systems Engineering for Astronomical Telescopes
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Book Description

Written for engineers, scientists, and managers, this Tutorial Text provides an introduction to systems engineering principles, tools, and practices as applied to astronomical systems. Topics include interface control, the lifecycle model, the role of trade studies, and the flow and allocation of requirements. Particular attention is paid to deriving the law of error propagation because it is the basis for formal performance budgeting and estimating the probability of success. Several examples supplement this derivation. A case study for a space science mission is also included.

Book Details

Date Published: 5 April 2018
Pages: 164
ISBN: 9781510616547
Volume: TT116

Table of Contents
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Table of Contents

1 Overview of Systems Engineering
1.1 What is Systems Engineering?
1.2 What Makes a Good Systems Engineer?
1.3 How Does Systems Engineering Relate to Astronomical Telescopes and Observatories?

2 Systems Engineering Principles
2.1 Lifecycle and Development Framework
2.2 Architecture Development Models
2.3 Requirements Development and Management

3 Systems Engineering Tools
3.1 Process Context Diagrams
3.2 System Environmental Context Diagrams

4 Requirements Development and Management

5 Performance Budget
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Budget or Performance Tree
5.3 Distribution of Outcomes
     5.3.1 Mean and variance of z
     5.3.2 Calculating the probability of success
 Chebychev and Cantelli inequalities
 Central limit theorem
 Direct calculation of p(z)
5.4 Performance Reserve
5.5 Professional Tips
5.6 Appendix: Mathematical Background
     5.6.1 Probability distribution functions
     5.6.2 Mean and variance of the sum of two variables
5.7 Appendix: Proof of the Bienayme-Chebyshev Inequality

6 Mission-Architecture Concept Development
6.1 Design Reference Mission
6.2 Process of Successive Refinement
6.3 Successive Refinement Details to Support Orbit Options
6.4 Orbit Trade: Analytic Hierarchy Process
6.5 Observatory Configurations
6.6 Mirror Architectures
6.7 Optical Performance Management
6.8 Role of Integrated Modeling

7 Concept-Development Example: Starshade
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Detection of an Extra-Solar Planet: Defining the Problem
7.3 Terrestrial-Planet-Finding Mission Concepts in 2004
7.4 Origins of the Starshade: Insurgent Solution
7.5 Diffraction Solution: CML 1
7.6 CML 2: Contrast and IWA (circa 2006 to 2007)
7.7 CML 3: Developing the Concept (2008 to Present)
7.8 Starshade as a Pedagogical Example

8 Technical Skills Are Not Enough
8.1 Introduction
8.2 Communication
     8.2.1 Written
 Reports and documents
     8.2.2 Email
8.3 Verbal
8.4 Organization
     8.4.1 Set the right priorities for the SE team
     8.4.2 Library design
8.5 Meetings
     8.5.1 Set the right cadence and lifespan for the problem
 Working- or task-group charters
     8.5.2 Know how to run a meeting
 Establish an agenda or clear objective
 Keep minutes
 Record action items
     8.5.3 Polite, fair, and inclusive meetings are productive
     8.5.4 Focus on the task at hand
8.6 Teamwork
8.7 Decision Making
8.8 Cultural Issues
8.9 The System Includes the People

9 Epilogue


The discipline of systems engineering has been emerging since the 1940s. With the development of large ground-based telescopes, such as the Keck, Gemini, and the Very Large Telescope, and space telescopes, such as the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Spitzer Infrared Telescope, the role of systems engineering for astronomical telescopes has come to the forefront. As we move forward into the next decade, there are numerous opportunities and a need for systems engineering to play a role for future observatories. The purpose of this book is to provide an overview of systems engineering as it applies to large astronomical telescopes, with an emphasis on space telescopes, and the tools for supporting the development and management of future programs. Examples from previous programs are used to illustrate the concepts and processes. The important personality and behavioral aspects of good systems engineers are mentioned. The book is intended for aspiring new systems engineers and as a refresher or reference for current practitioners. It is also useful for engineers in other disciplines to better understand and guide their participation in the larger system endeavor. To paraphrase an old bumper sticker from years ago: Think globally systems, act locally discipline.

The stimulus to develop this book has evolved over time. The initial impetus for Paul Lightsey was a suggestion from Phil Stahl following a briefing of the results of the pre-Phase-A architecture study for the Next-Generation Space Telescope (which later became the James Webb Space Telescope, or JWST). Stahl suggested that Lightsey offer a short course on systems engineering and architecture development for SPIE. The seed was planted but took time to germinate. In the interim, Lightsey was an adjunct lecturer for the Johns Hopkins Masters in Space Systems Engineering program offered at Ball Aerospace, and also developed and taught an internal training course at Ball on architectural concept development. A few years later, Stahl invited Jonathan Arenberg and Lightsey to collaborate on status updates on the progress of the JWST program at a Mirror Technologies Meeting. A few years later, Arenberg was invited to develop a short course on systems engineering for SPIE. He agreed on the condition that he and Lightsey could co-develop the course. The course relied on the combined experience of the authors having worked on the Great Observatories Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Spitzer Infrared Telescope Facility, along with diverse experience from a multitude of other aerospace programs. The course was first presented at the SPIE International Conference on Astronomical Telescopes and Instruments at Montreal in 2014. At that time, the authors were invited to develop a text based on the course. The progress was slow, with a preliminary draft ready at the time of the SPIE International Conference on Astronomical Telescopes and Instruments at Edinburgh in 2016. The SPIE editors solicited reviews, which have been used to update the book, from colleagues and feedback from the short-course students. So now as we approach the imminent launch of the JWST and the reports from the studies for missions to be presented for the 2020 Decadal survey, we offer this book and hope that readers find it useful.

We wish to thank the many colleagues and students, past and present, from whom we have learned much. We would like to dedicate this book to our wives, who tolerated the long hours we have put into our profession and into the preparation of this book.

Paul A. Lightsey
Jonathan W. Arenberg
March 2018

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