“Model-based Systems Engineering” is currently a hot topic at INCOSE (International Council on Systems Engineering). It involves multidisciplinary development based on the usage of models as main artifact. The frequent use of models during the development of the pico-satellite MOVE (Munich Orbital Verification Experiment) was attributed to the long history of the chair for astronautics at the TU München with Systems Engineering. The development of MOVE displayed many of the characteristics of a real-world multidisciplinary engineering project and resulted in a successful space flight of the engineered satellite. Within the satellite, communication was lead through a central bus between the different components and required expertise and coordination from all of the involved disciplines. An equivalent task of distributing information and energy can be found in automotive engineering: in the wire-harness. In contrast to the satellite bus, it does not distribute centrally created coordination commands, but supports the orchestration between distributed systems. Even though these two systems and their development processes are inherently different, they exhibit similar difficulties during their design phase (e.g. with compatibility) and can be modeled similarly. This paper uses the design of satellite bus systems and automotive wire-harnesses as examples, describes their common pitfalls, explains “Model-based Systems Engineering” and demonstrates how the development of communication systems in both satellite and automotive engineering can benefit from relying on it in early design and concept phases.
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