ESA

Concurrent Design Facility

The Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) provides a collaborative, cooperative, collective and simultaneous engineering working environment

The Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) is a state-of-the-art facility equipped with a network of computers, multimedia devices and software tools, which allows a team of experts from several disciplines to apply the concurrent engineering method to the design of future space missions.

The CDF’s infrastructure, methodology, tools and processes allow teams of experts from different engineering disciplines to work in close coordination in the same place, at the same time, to develop complex designs very quickly -- typically, in a matter of a few weeks compared to the duration of standard pre-Phase A design period, which is several months.

Concurrent Engineering provides a collaborative, co-operative, collective and simultaneous engineering working environment. 

For general enquires regarding this TEC location please refer to the assigned contacts:

ESTEC CDF

Laboratory Email
For testing requests, access to lab facilities, training and consultancy services, please refer to the assigned contacts:

THIRD PARTY ACTIVITIES

TPA Management system
ESA’s Concurrent Design Facility has adopted a systematic approach to integrated product development that emphasises the response to customer expectations.

It embodies team values of cooperation, trust and sharing in such a manner that decision-making is done by consensus, involving all perspectives in parallel, from the beginning of the product life-cycle.

The concurrent engineering approach is based on five key elements:

Process

Multidisciplinary team

Integrated design model

Facility

Software infrastructure

The Concurrent Design Facility was established at ESTEC in November 1998, initially on an experimental basis, as an initiative under the sponsorship of the General Studies Program (GSP).

Other European design centres have been created on the basis of the best experiences coming out of the ESA CDF.

CDF ROLE

Ideas for new space missions and systems are technically and programmatically assessed in ESA’s state-of-the-art Concurrent Design Facility. Since spacecraft design is based on mathematical models, which rely on specific types of software, all available in the CDF, our user teams have the unique opportunity, throughout a study, to define and exchange a consistent set of design parameters with other specialists and see how any changes to any one of them can immediately impact any other. In this way, numerous design iterations can be performed faster, and different design options can be easily analysed and compared. 

CDF BROCHURE

Concurrent Design Facility

FACILITIES

The CDF is a suite of rooms/facilities designed and equipped with all the relevant hardware and software tools to create a multidisciplinary design environment, providing effective communication, data interchange, engineering tools and databases to a number of team members working concurrently. 

All the rooms can be linked via an audio/visual network allowing data to be shared on any or all of the screens in the other rooms. All the rooms also have full video conference facilities via ISDN or IP and the ability to record the presentations and video conference via an inbuilt recording system. A 3D Printing facility allows teams to examine tangible prototypes of the systems that are being designed. The CDF is staffed with experienced engineers drawn from various domains and led by specialised System Engineers, who fulfil the role of Team Leaders. A number of junior engineers and trainees get on-the-job training during CDF studies.

A 10-inch display at each station is used to control a PC or laptop and to pull data from various sources. Users can employ their own laptops or use in-room computers, either of which can be displayed on the in-room screen if selected by the moderator. Each workstation also has a camera and microphone to enable a more inclusive experience for remote study participants.

The CDF is primarily used to assess the technical and financial feasibility of future space missions and new spacecraft concepts (e.g. internal pre-phase A or Level-0 assessment studies) providing: 

New mission concepts assessment

Space systems trade-offs and options evaluation

New technology validation at system/mission level

Payload instrument conceptual designing

Reviews of industrial phase A studies

 Definition and consolidation of requirements

Anomaly investigation

Roadmapping

Multidisciplinary brainstorming

Education and training

Design Rooms

Services

ESA

It is amazing to see the number and diversity of applications to which concurrent engineering is applied in Europe. My understanding is that the CDF has inspired the majority of them

Mark Adler, NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory

European industry and national space agencies are using the CDF as a source of inspiration and a guide to creating their own facilities and shaping their own design processes. In support of this, ESA’s CDF is open to provide advice and share our experiences with the goal of assisting European partners in improving their processes.

Traditionally, engineers faced with the task of designing a complex new system or architecture work in sequence, one step at a time, passing the design parameters and data from one subsystem specialist to the next, without any interaction with the rest of the team during the process. The CDF enables ‘concurrent engineering’ methodology based on teamwork and focused on a common design model that evolves iteratively in real time as the different subsystem experts provide their contributions. Designers and customers discuss and consolidate requirements and take decisions by consensus on the spot to produce an optimised design within the cost and programmatic constraints. 

 

CDF CAN SUPPORT YOU WITH SPACE MISSION DESIGN, COST AND PROGRAMMATIC ADVICE, INCLUDING SCHEDULING, MODEL PHILOSOPHY, OPERATIONS AND RISK ASSESSMENT VIA SEVERAL CHANNELS:

Meet the CDF founder Massimo Bandecchi to understand the approach behind this extraordinary facility

MEET THE EXPERTS

DESIGNING SPACE MISSIONS

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ESTEC CDF

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