What is a System?
A system can be thought of as a set of elements that interact with one another in an organized or interrelated fashion toward a common purpose that cannot be achieved by any of the elements alone or by all of the elements without the underlying organization. The personal computer (PC) shown in Figure 1 is an example of a system. The elements of the PC include the processor, display, software, and keyboard. The soldering iron in Figure 1 is symbolic of the manufacturing, test, a d maintenance equipment that are also system elements. The elements are organized or interrelated to achieve the purpose of the PC. The organization is facilitated by electrical cables and connectors and mechanical fasteners.
Replaced/Superseded by document(s)
This Systems Engineering handbook is written to provide SMC personnel with fundamental systems engineering concepts and techniques as they apply to space, launch, and ground control systems and the SMC environment. The intended audience includes the project officer, junior systems engineer, an engineer in another discipline that must perform Systems Engineering functions, or the experienced engineer who needs a suitable reference. The authors recognize that systems engineering subject matter is very broad and that approaches to performing systems engineering vary greatly. This exposition is not intended to cover them all. It addresses general concepts and common processes, tools, and techniques that are mostly familiar to SMC. It also provides information on recommended systems engineering practices and pitfalls to avoid. Many references are provided for the reader to consult for more in-depth knowledge.
This handbook describes systems engineering as it could be applied to the development of major space, launch, and ground control systems. Systems engineering provides a disciplined approach that covers the entire lifecycle of a system to include development, design, manufacture, and operation. Consequently, the handbook’s scope properly includes systems engineering functions regardless of whether they are performed by the AFSPC operational user, SMC system program office (Program Office), or a systems contractor.