The System Engineering Process Definition as Part of the European Cooperation for Space Standardization (ECSS)

Ralf Hartmann*, et. al. (The Members of ECSS-E-10 Working Group)
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Paper presented at the 8th Annual International Symposium of the
International Council on Systems Engineering
July 26 – 30, 1998 Vancouver, Canada


The European Cooperation for Space
Standardization (ECSS) is an initiative established in
1993 to develop a coherent, single set of user-friendly
standards for use in all European space activities. The
documentation architecture consists of the three
branches Project Management, Product Assurance and
Engineering. The first level 2 document in the
Engineering branch (ECSS-E-10) is dedicated to
System Engineering and has been released in 1996.

In the first issue of E-10 the so-called ”system
engineering engine” has been defined, which is
basically a space implementation of the IEEE P1220
trial use standard consisting of 5 major functions
(requirements engineering, analysis, design, verification
and system engineering integration & control) which
have been comprehensively detailed and explained from
a ”static” point of view independently of life cycle
phases and the level of system decomposition. The
”dynamic” implementation of the SE process within the
individual life cycle phases of a space project (0, A, B,
C/D, E and F) were only partly tackled. The need to
extend the E-10 SE standard with material providing a
real pragmatic support for project implementation was
identified. The dynamic consideration of the SE process
defined by the working group on the basis of long-term
industrial experience provides via implementation
templates a detailed logic flow of activities within the
individual space project phases and the related input
and output (project documentation). In addition detailed
descriptions for all activities and the contents of
documents are included to be as clear as possible. The
extend of the templates is intentionally comprehensive
to be useful for all types of space projects. As a
consequence it is not only allowed but definitely
required to tailor the templates to the specific
characteristics of the considered project. Guidelines are
provided in order to support the tailoring process for the
individual space project on the basis of a set of three
major application classes.

Two specific responsibilities of system engineering are
explicitly taken into account: the coordination of the
overall technical work with project management and
quality assurance and the initiation, coordination and
integration of the work performed within the various
engineering disciplines.

The enhanced issue of the ECSS-E-10 document is
planned to be submitted to the responsible ECSS board
by the end of 1998, which will then release it for public
review. This paper describes the actual status of the
system engineering process definition and intends to
trigger fruitful discussions and comments.