From idea to construction to operation, a spacecraft passes through several standardized phases between which contractually agreed interim results and areas are due. Technical changes and corrections in later phases are therefore often very time-consuming. The model-based system design (MBSE) tries to understand correlations at the technical level earlier in order to avoid such corrections; however, although MBSE helps to recognize technical difficulties at an early stage, it is not sufficient to gain a complete economic understanding of a mission. If, for example, it is determined during assembly that important parts are not available, the design must be revised - but this is an economic rather than a technical dependency. MBSE is therefore only a small part of a large digital platform where all parties involved exchange information. What this information is, how it needs to be stored and what standards are appropriate or need to be created is the subject of our research.
Nowadays, a spacecraft is planned, built and, when finished, operated. The spacecraft operation ultimately gains extensive experience about the behaviour of the entire spacecraft and the components used, but this experience rarely has a direct influence on the design of new spacecraft. In the future, new information will be provided based on an industry 4.0 platform in the early design phase, so that failure probabilities or delivery times can have a direct influence on the design. This will also allow manufacturers to prioritize other missions if the original one is delayed.
In close cooperation with the working group Modelling and Simulation of Simulations- und Softwaretechnik we develop, among others, a plugin for the software Virtual Satellite, which should give engineers easier access to product data of manufacturers of spacecraft components when planning spacecraft. Product data is currently mainly exchanged in the form of PDF data sheets - we are working on exchanging this data directly in machine-readable formats in the future. For a uniform exchange between all manufacturers and customers, it is important to standardize these formats. Since this requires a common understanding of the syntax and semantics of the terms used, we are working together with domain experts on the development of an ontology for product data.