Introducing the European Space Agency Architectural Framework for Space-Based Systems of Systems Engineering

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Abstract

System of Systems (SoS) engineering introduces a higher level of complexity compared to conventional systems engineering, for the number and geographical distribution of resources, and for interoperability and agreements issues, for example. In domains such as defence or Information Technology, architecting methodologies have been introduced to address engineering needs deriving from this increased level of complexity. From ongoing and future European space programmes, ESA has identified new engineering needs that cannot be addressed with existing methodologies. These needs concern the use of the methodology to support decision making, the representation of European regulation and policies, and the representation of space-specific domain concepts. In this paper, we introduce the European Space Agency Architectural Framework (ESA-AF), an architecting methodology that aims to address these new engineering needs by improving on existing architecting methodologies. In addition, ESA-AF introduces exploitation tools for user-friendly interactive visualisation of SoS architectural models and for textual reporting of model data, enabling non technical users to exploit these models. We also briefly present example applications of ESA-AF in support of SoS engineering activities for the Galileo navigation, the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES), and the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) programmes.