Proof of Concept Study of Trade Space Configuration Tool for Spacecraft DesignSpacecraft design is a very difficult and time consuming process because requirements and criteria are often changed or modified as the design is refined. Accounting for these adjustments in the design constraints plays a significant role in furthering the overall progress. There are numerous aspects and variables that hold significant influence on various characteristics of the design. This can be especially frustrating when attempting to conduct rapid trade space analysis on system configurations. Currently, the data and designs considered for trade space evaluations can only be displayed by using the traditional interfaces of Excel spreadsheets or CAD (Computer Aided Design) models. While helpful, these methods of analyzing the data from a systems engineering approach can be rather complicated and overwhelming. As a result, a proof of concept was conducted on a dynamic data visualization software called Thinkmap SDK (Software Developer Kit) to allow for better organization and understanding of the relationships between the various aspects that make up an entire design. The Orion Crew Module Aft Bay Subsystem was used as the test case for this study because the design and layout of many of the subsystem components will be significant in ensuring the overall center of gravity of the capsule is correct. A simplified model of this subsystem was created and programmed using Thinkmap SDK to create a preliminary prototype application of a Trade Space Configuration Tool. The completed application ensures that the core requirements for the Tool can be met. Further development is strongly suggested to produce a full prototype application to allow final evaluations and recommendations of the software capabilities.
Glidden, Geoffrey L. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)