NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Systems Engineering Seminar

Systems Engineering and Project Management Approaches within Emerging Satellite Programs in Africa and Asia

Presented by:
Danielle Wood, Doctoral Candidate, MIT, Intern GSFC Code 504

July 12, 2011, 1:00 p.m.
Building 3 Auditorium


Systems Engineering and Project Management Approaches within Emerging Satellite Programs in Africa and Asia

The international space community is changing. Satellite technology is maturing while new global players are developing innovative approaches to space engineering. Specifically in the area of optical remote sensing, it is increasingly possible to build cheaper, less massive systems that deliver useful performance. This technical change is allowing new entities to procure and operate satellites. National governments on every continent are showing an interest in these opportunities. They are motivated by the fact that nationally owned satellite systems provide useful information regarding many social issues while enhancing their country’s level of technical sophistication. In exchange for low cost, this new wave of satellite customers can accept higher levels of risk and lower levels of performance than traditional space actors. This combination allows manufacturing companies to experiment with new system engineering approaches as they design and build satellites. This presentation explores these new system engineering approaches by highlighting the experiences of several new space programs in Africa and Asia. Specifically, the presentation examines case studies of several countries that are facilitating local technological learning about satellites via international collaboration. The research is based on extensive field work that collected first hand data about contextual, technical and policy issues. This talk will present initial results from this field work and discuss interactions between system engineering, national space policy and socio-economic development.



Photo of Danielle Wood Danielle Wood is a doctoral candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she studies aerospace engineering, technology policy and international development. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in MIT’s Engineering Systems Division – a multi-disciplinary academic community that combines engineering, management and social science to address complex, socio-technical issues in society. Danielle’s technical focus is on the system engineering and architecture approaches for satellites and satellite programs. For her thesis research, Danielle applies this interest to examine satellite activity in emerging countries such as Nigeria, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.

During her career, Danielle has pursued diverse experiences with NASA as an intern, guest researcher, graduate fellow, contractor and Student Ambassador. Danielle is currently interning at Goddard in the Innovative Partnerships Program and at NASA Headquarters in the Office of the Chief Technologist. The mission of her current internship is to consider new ways that NASA technology spin-offs can be deployed for the benefit of developing countries. In 2007, Danielle partnered with MIT’s Donna Rhodes and the SEARi ( Systems Engineering Advancement Research Initiative) team to study attributes of Mission Systems Engineers at Goddard. This work was presented at a 2007 GSFC System Engineering Seminar. In addition to her experience with NASA, Danielle interned with the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs, which helps to coordinate international dialogue and awareness of space policy issues. Danielle recently completed a 9 month, field research tour where she studied many new satellite programs in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. She will present initial results from this field work during her seminar. The presentation will provide exciting perspectives about the role of space in these regions and trends in systems engineering approaches for satellites. Danielle received her Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering in 2005, a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering in 2008, and a Master of Science in Technology Policy in 2008 – all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.



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