JPL Develops MBSE Tools to Perform Business Case Analysis for DARPA's F6 Program

January 24, 2012

Presenters: Dr. Steve Cornford, Senior Engineer; Dr. Bjorn Cole, System Engineer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Facilitator: Bryce Durham, Software Engineer, Phoenix Integration


The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), with Phoenix Integration, is a principal performer on DARPA's System F6 fractionated satellite program. This effort aims to evaluate the feasibility of fractionated satellite clusters by generating families of designs that consist of structural, architectural and configuration variants at a level higher than traditional parametric design. An approach was developed that allows for varying the number and structural composition of spacecraft, their functionality, operating strategies, and flight formations.

The approach also allowed for the evaluation of the value of adaptability and survivability in the face of off-nominal conditions. Model-based systems engineering (MBSE) techniques are employed to generate executable models from the descriptive language of SysML. Model architectures and components are first described using the Systems Modeling Language (SysML). Model transformations are applied to convert the SysML description into a specific, executable PHX ModelCenter® model.

PHX ModelCenter's trade study engine is then used to generate and visualize trade-offs between various system parameters. The core objective function was formulated utilizing Real Options theory, which has its roots in the mathematics of financial options. This allowed the objective function to provide a metric about not only nominal engineering and science value for a particular candidate F6 cluster, but also about the value of having adaptation strategies for unexpected events. This webinar will describe the details of this process and provide a live demonstration of what has been achieved so far in this ongoing effort.

Demonstration featuring: How to setup the problem, configuration and execution of the trade-off study, and processing of trade study results

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