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16 September 2004 Applying systems engineering to astronomical projects
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With the award of the VISTA project to the United Kingdom Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC), the need for a formal systems approach and dedicated systems engineering management was identified as a key requirement for the success of that project. The structuring of projects within the UK ATC has been increasingly biased toward a systems engineering approach. ROE projects such as CGS4, while very successful, were based on a traditional engineering discipline approach. The systems responsibility was split between the Project Scientist and the Project Manager. Such an approach can be made to work on internal projects where the entire team and project sponsor are in close proximity. As instrumentation projects have grown larger, become more complex and increasingly geographically distributed through international collaboration, the need for technical discipline enforced by a formal system engineering approach has correspondingly grown. Internal projects also benefit and are becoming increasingly reliant on systems engineering as a means to mitigating both schedule and budget risks. This paper describes and analyses the ongoing introduction of a formal systems approach within the UK ATC. Structuring of projects through a sub-system approach rather than by discipline, formal requirements capture, traceability and the use of systems tools to monitor performance are described. The introduction of systems engineering as a discipline is discussed and progress to date reported. Systems engineering activities in previous projects and ongoing implementation in current projects are analysed. Lessons learnt are described and future development in the systems approach outlined.
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Simon C. Craig and Andrew J. Born "Applying systems engineering to astronomical projects", Proc. SPIE 5497, Modeling and Systems Engineering for Astronomy, (16 September 2004);


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