Like many telescope projects today, the 24.5-meter Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) is truly a complex system. The primary and secondary mirrors of the GMT are segmented and actuated to support two operating modes: natural seeing and adaptive optics. GMT is a general-purpose telescope supporting multiple science instruments operated in those modes. GMT is a large, diverse collaboration and development includes geographically distributed teams.
The need to implement good systems engineering processes for managing the development of systems like GMT becomes imperative. The management of the requirements flow down from the science requirements to the component level requirements is an inherently difficult task in itself. The interfaces must also be negotiated so that the interactions between subsystems and assemblies are well defined and controlled.
This paper will provide an overview of the systems engineering processes and tools implemented for the GMT project during the preliminary design phase. This will include requirements management, documentation and configuration control, interface development and technical risk management. Because of the complexity of the GMT system and the distributed team, using web-accessible tools for collaboration is vital. To accomplish this GMTO has selected three tools: Cognition Cockpit, Xerox Docushare, and Solidworks Enterprise Product Data Management (EPDM). Key to this is the use of Cockpit for managing and documenting the product tree, architecture, error budget, requirements, interfaces, and risks. Additionally, drawing management is accomplished using an EPDM vault. Docushare, a documentation and configuration management tool is used to manage workflow of documents and drawings for the GMT project. These tools electronically facilitate collaboration in real time, enabling the GMT team to track, trace and report on key project metrics and design parameters.