Characterizing Distributed Concurrent Engineering Teams: A Descriptive Framework for Aerospace Concurrent Engineering Design TeamsAs aerospace missions grow larger and more technically complex in the face of ever tighter budgets, it will become increasingly important to use concurrent engineering methods in the development of early conceptual designs because of their ability to facilitate rapid assessments and trades in a cost-efficient manner. To successfully accomplish these complex missions with limited funding, it is also essential to effectively leverage the strengths of individuals and teams across government, industry, academia, and international agencies by increased cooperation between organizations. As a result, the existing concurrent engineering teams will need to increasingly engage in distributed collaborative concurrent design. This paper is an extension of a recent white paper written by the Concurrent Engineering Working Group, which details the unique challenges of distributed collaborative concurrent engineering. This paper includes a short history of aerospace concurrent engineering, and defines the terms 'concurrent', 'collaborative' and 'distributed' in the context of aerospace concurrent engineering. In addition, a model for the levels of complexity of concurrent engineering teams is presented to provide a way to conceptualize information and data flow within these types of teams.