Personal Introduction. Brian Engberg. While a graduate student at Stanford University, I was heavily involved with the Space Systems Development Laboratory , under the direction of Prof. Bob Twiggs. Satellites and related projects that I worked on:
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While a graduate student at Stanford University, I was heavily involved with the Space Systems Development Laboratory, under the direction of Prof. Bob Twiggs
I was hired by AFRL/VSSV in Oct 2001; I am currently Chief Engineer of AFRL/VSSL, working on programs to deliver space-based laser communications technology
I also continue to provide support to the University Nanosat Program
What follows? – “lessons learned” and experience-based advice
Solve problems before they evolve…
“A gram of forethought is worth a metric ton of engineering”
Technical challenges can be time-consuming – but poor project management can absolutely devastate your schedule!
It is far more likely that your program will fail due to management problems than due to technical/engineering roadblocks!
Good communication paths are critical!
Prevent the need for the professor to “step in”
“Step in” only when necessary
Of course, if a professor wants to “get their hands dirty”, that can be beneficial too…
However, education should be student focused
Why is access to space required?
Mission Goals & Requirements
System / Operational Requirements
Crappy MS (too general):
The purpose of Program X is to learn about magnetic-molecular chemistry effects in the upper atmosphere by using microsatellites
The purpose of Program X is to investigate the effect of Earth’s magnetic field on molecular chemical reactions in the upper ionosphere; this will be achieved by taking data on orbit with a novel dual-band antenna sensing device, after which the data will be returned to the ground for processing.
Crappy MS (too specific):
Chemical reactions between oxygenated molecules in the upper atmosphere are theorized to have a strong effect on weather patterns over large bodies of water such as the oceans. As such, the purpose of Program X is to investigate the effect of Earth’s magnetic field on atomic oxygen and ozone reactions in the F1 and F2 layers of the ionosphere; this will be achieved by taking data with a novel dual-band antenna sensing device attached to a microsatellite not to exceed 50 cm cubed in size and 50 kg in mass. The data must be returned to the ground within 12 hours of capture so that it can be processed using the revolutionary “Technique B”.
The worst MS is not to have one at all!!!!
Operationally vague – is an image of “black space” OK?
Likely a system requirement
Only a goal – no “minimum success” identified
Directly support mission requirements & goals
Internal and External
Supports system requirements
Concept of Operations Plan
Defines design details
Understand the requirements and how they affect the way in which the system must function.
Identify a feasible solution that functions in a way that meets the requirements
Tip: START HERE
Defining & understanding the requirements is critical
Many people try to start here (big mistake)
Show that the synthesized design meets all requirements
Synthesis Control Loop
Identify and employ “control mechanisms” that manage configuration, interfaces, data products, technology insertion, and program risk
Set up a plan for each of these EARLY!
Risk mitigation strategies!
Each team will have a unique pool of available talent
Educational opportunity: learn to look for, identify, and utilize your team’s unique skills
Know what expertise is “in-house” and what you need to “farm out”
Educational opportunity: practice leadership, communications, and resource management skills
Guess what – you are already behind!!
Two years may seem like a long time, but…
Follow-up questions or comments?
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (505) 853-2349