Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) applied through a sysML model to the mascot asteroid lander

Michael Kretzenbacher, Ross Findlay, Caroline Lange, Wenyi Yan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Modern space systems engineering practices, such as the use of concurrent design and international and inter- organisational teams, require effective and reliable communication. A shift towards Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) may provide a more effective way for systems engineers to manage and document project progress, while also simplifying project handover. By constructing a Systems Modelling Language (SysML) model of the MASCOT asteroid lander system, the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) has demonstrated the applicability of MBSE to such a project. SysML, developed by the International Council On Systems Engineering (INCOSE) and the Object Management Group (OMG), is a general-purpose graphical modelling language that can be used to construct descriptive models of complex space systems and systems of systems. By providing a descriptive model, SysML can reduce ambiguity and the likelihood of misinterpreted information. The recursive nature of SysML models allows for a simple top down approach to modelling and quick access to the relevant model sections. DLR applied SysML to a shadow study of MASCOT, which allowed access to the knowledge and key personnel of the MASCOT project without putting the MBSE approach on the critical path. The modelling followed a top- down approach and allowed for the building of model knowledge in parallel to the recursive nature of design evolution. The study focussed on the application of SysML based MBSE in phase B and C of project development. A difficult learning curve was seen, which required an investment of time and resources before SysML based MBSE could be implemented. Additionally, a standard modelling methodology needs to be addressed, either within individual organisations, or at the industry level, before it can be implemented. SysML based MBSE was judged to be particularly effective in aiding communication, documentation and monitoring system interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication64th International Astronautical Congress 2013, IAC 2013
PublisherInternational Astronautical Federation, IAF
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781629939094
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Astronautical Congress (IAC) 2013 - Beijing, China
Duration: 23 Sep 201327 Sep 2013
Conference number: 64th


ConferenceInternational Astronautical Congress (IAC) 2013
Abbreviated titleIAC 2013

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