Collaborative Mission Design at NASA Langley Research Center
Gough, Kerry M.
Allen, B. Danette
Amundsen, Ruth M.
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NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) has developed and tested two facilities dedicated to increasing efficiency in key mission design processes, including payload design, mission planning, and implementation plan development, among others. The Integrated Design Center (IDC) is a state-of-the art concurrent design facility which allows scientists and spaceflight engineers to produce project designs and mission plans in a real-time collaborative environment, using industry-standard physics-based development tools and the latest communication technology. The Mission Simulation Lab (MiSL), a virtual reality (VR) facility focused on payload and project design, permits engineers to quickly translate their design and modeling output into enhanced three-dimensional models and then examine them in a realistic full-scale virtual environment. The authors were responsible for envisioning both facilities and turning those visions into fully operational mission design resources at LaRC with multiple advanced capabilities and applications. In addition, the authors have created a synergistic interface between these two facilities. This combined functionality is the Interactive Design and Simulation Center (IDSC), a “meta-facility” which offers project teams a powerful array of highly advanced tools, permitting them to rapidly produce project designs while maintaining the integrity of the input from every discipline expert on the project. The concept-to-flight mission support provided by IDSC has shown improved inter- and intra-team communication and a reduction in the resources required for proposal development, requirements definition, and design effort.