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The long and winding road: MBSE adoption for functional avionics of spacecraft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number110453
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Systems and Software
Early online date26 Oct 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 24 Oct 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 26 Oct 2019
DatePublished (current) - 1 Feb 2020


Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) represents a move away from the traditional approach of Document-Based Systems Engineering (DBSE). It is claimed that MBSE promotes consistency, communication, clarity and maintainability within systems engineering projects and addresses issues associated with cost, complexity and safety. While these potential benefits of MBSE are generally agreed upon by would-be practitioners, its implementation is challenging and many organisations struggle to overcome the cultural and technical hurdles along the long and winding road to MBSE adoption. In this paper, we aim to ease the process of implementation by investigating where the current issues with the existing systems engineering processes lie, and where a model-based approach may be able to help, from the perspective of engineers working on spacecraft functional avionics in Airbus. A repeatable process has been developed to elicit this information. Semi-structured interviews have been conducted with 25 Airbus engineers working in Operations, Software and Failure, Detection, Isolation and Recovery. The acquired data has been thematically analysed to extract common themes from the responses. The results presented in this paper have yielded four recommended application areas to consider when applying MBSE to Functional Avionics: organisation modelling; early functional validation; communication and consistency; template model framework development.

    Research areas

  • MBSE, modelling, functional avionics, systems engineering, thematic analysis

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