Originally the AcubeSAT project operated without a systems engineering team. However, due to the increasing complexity of the project as a system and the need to strictly define the technical procedures to be followed during the entire lifetime of the project, the systems engineering team was introduced.
The members of this subteam have the entire technical supervision of the project. The team began its work by deriving all of the requirements for the spacecraft in cooperation with all subsystems, and performing maintenance on them over the coming months. During the design phase of the nanosatellite, the subteam has decided to implement the concurrent engineering technique, which with the help of the necessary tools helped deliver a functional and sustainable system architecture. Design options were evaluated using trade-off and risk analysis. The entire design phase has been aided by the weekly AcubeSAT design sessions, which are weekly technical meetings hosted by the systems engineering team enabling the concurrent engineering approach of our project.
The subteam also attempts to increase the reliability of the AcubeSAT using strictly defined Assembly, Integration & Verification procedures (AIV), while also identifying failure modes via the Failure Modes Effects & Criticality Analysis (FMEA) for quality assurance purposes and Fault Tree Analysis to assist future AcubeSAT operators in their work operating the spacecraft.
All of the above are conducted in a controlled and well regulated manner using the European Coordination for Space Standardization (ECSS) standards as a reference point. For this reason, the team maintains its own AcubeSAT ECSS database, ensuring decisions are made in compliance with European regulations. AcubeSAT system engineers frequently refer to ECSS standards and handbooks, giving the entire team guidance and assistance in questions they might have.
The team also oversees parts of the technical infrastructure which is supporting the project, namely:
1) OCDT: OCDT is an open-source parameter sharing tool implemented by the European Space Agency to enable concurrent engineering for the Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) at ESTEC. Our team operates its own dedicated server for modelling, where the AcubeSAT models and all parameters describing the spacecraft are stored.
2) Documentation management system: A dedicated system for producing and circulating reports within the project and beyond which was implemented to better organize the large amounts of reports which are produced by our team. Users author their documents in LaTeX and the document is made available with a unique identifier to the team and tracked via the platforms our team uses.
Finally, the subteam is laying the foundations for the conception and the design of future space missions, by investigating and researching how the latest trend in systems engineering, the Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) approach can be implemented to our team.