A Practical Guide to Agile Mission Design and Spacecraft Development with Data-Driven Systems Engineering

Preface

I’d like to express my sincerest gratitude to those who have shown in interest in my paper “A practical guide to agile mission design and spacecraft development with data-driven systems engineering”, presented during the European Space Agency’s 9th International Systems & Concurrent Engineering for Space Applications Conference (SECESA) 2020.

I wrote this paper during the pandemic from Strasbourg, France, when I joined Valispace as a remote worker. At the time I noticed my peers and organizations in the industry facing technical and social difficulties in adjusting to the new remote working culture, which was contrary to my experience as I started working with Valispace. I discovered there were several factors why my transition to remote working felt natural:

  1. Valispace is a software company with a globally distributed team; remote working has been embedded in our company since before the pandemic struck. 
  2. We use a modified agile process to avoid a meeting-heavy culture which leads to decision bottlenecks. Sprints enable us to develop solutions rapidly, while keeping our sights on the big picture. 
  3. We practice what we preach: our culture and software fosters instantaneous communication and feedback because we utilize the principles of Data-Driven Systems Engineering (DDSE) in our development, testing, and documentation cycles. 

I researched hardware companies which were struggling or faltering to the work restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. My subjects were not prepared for this new work culture and were falling behind in their development schedules or finding it difficult to remain productive. It turns out many did not have the resources, processes, or the interpersonal culture to rapidly transition to remote working without disruption. 

The solutions I’ve proposed are designed to be a stepping stone for those who are moving operations partially or completely online, or trying to remain agile in this pandemic. While the five practical guidelines in this paper are geared towards the space hardware industry, I’ve generalized the principles so they may be modified and adopted by any organization or institution in the technology sector. 

Thank you for your interest in this paper. Please contact me at supreet@valispace.com if you have any questions or comments. 

Sincerely, 
Supreet Kaur