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Concurrent Design Facility

Concurrent Design Facility
Concurrent Design Facility

The RAL Space Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) is a newly commissioned facility for the quick and efficient conceptual design of complex space programmes. The CDF has been developed by RAL Space Engineers, but incorporates the experience and best practice of other CDFs located overseas (for example ESA-ESTEC, NASA, ASI, CNES, JAXA and DLR).

The RAL Space CDF consists of three elements:

  • The facility infrastructure: The room itself, the IT and communications hardware and the specialist space mission design software which enable Engineers to design individual elements of a complex mission.
  • The CDF design database: The software which automatically links the design of the individual elements of a mission into a coherent system
  • The methodology: The process for efficiently coordinating the design activities of Engineers and Scientists in a concurrent design environment.

These three elements of the CDF enable novel space concepts to be quickly and efficiently assessed from technical, financial and programmatic points-of-view.

The key benefits of utilising the RAL Space CDF for Mission studies are:

  • Study Quality: The rigorous and systematic approach to the design process helps ensure that the results are of a consistently high standard.
  • Efficiency: ESA and other CDF operators report a reduction in assessment study costs by a factor of two and elapsed time by a factor of four.
  • Fostering Collaboration: Teams of Scientists and Engineers from different organisations and countries are able to start work together on real projects quickly, build collaborations and profit from each other's strengths.
  • Stimulation of new scientific and business initiatives: New ideas and concepts can be refined, elaborated and assessed from scientific, technical and business points-of-view and take them to the next level of maturity.

The RAL Space CDF is currently working on three separate studies designing:

  • A mission for monitoring atmospheric Carbon from Space.
  • A mission to provide an early warning system for Space Weather events which threaten critical infrastructure on Earth.
  • A concept to provide Mars Landers with long range autonomy thanks to a novel propulsion system.

The CDF is currently available to be used by ISIC members as well as the wider UK space community to help ensure that we remain internationally competitive.

The STFC, RAL Space CDF supports the ISIC facility (link opens in a new window).

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