• RHEA awarded contract to enhance the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) use of the SysML technology for model-based system engineering (MBSE).
  • A consortium led by RHEA will implement a methodology for use of SysML and improve, extend and futureproof the ESA SysML Solution to provide greater consistency and reuse across projects.
  • The development will take into account the next version of the SysML standard (v2.0) and the evolution of other standards and tools, including the European Space Systems Ontology (SSO) and the MBSE Hub.

RHEA System B.V. has been awarded an 18-month contract by ESA to enhance its use of MBSE and tailor ESA’s SysML Solution to take into account future developments in space-related standards and MBSE tools. The project will implement an MBSE methodology and broaden the scope of the existing MBSE Solution by improving tool support and alignment with standards. The project’s developments will be tested in a real-life ESA project.

SysML is widely recognized as a key technology for digitalizing the engineering workflow and fostering MBSE, which aims to replace documents with digital models across engineering domains and throughout the supply chain for the lifecycle of a product or service. However, using SysML in the space domain requires specific tailoring. ESA’s MBSE Solution enables the use of commercial off-the-shelf tools to model space systems in compliance with SysML, and has been successfully used in ESA’s PLATO and EUCLID missions. Led by RHEA, this new project will improve consistency, broaden compatibility and futureproof the approach to enable it to be used in further missions too.

The ESA SysML Solution: Specification and Implementation project is one of a number of MBSE-related activities being undertaken by ESA to significantly reduce costs associated with space missions and prevent errors and pitfalls. These include development of the MBSE Hub, for which RHEA is leading one of two parallel projects, and the Space Systems Ontology, which describes a common vocabulary for space projects. This new project will take account of both of these, plus the SysML v2.0 standard, due for release in 2024, and the evolution of the European Cooperation for Space Standardization (ECSS) standards.

As prime contractor, RHEA will lead a consortium comprising Airbus Defence and Space, Samares Engineering and DEKonsult. Together they provide extensive experience in MBSE, ECSS and tool integrations, and in-depth knowledge of Cameo System Modeller, Enterprise Architect and SysML, which are all widely used in the space domain.

Sam Gerené, RHEA’s Competence Area Lead for Concurrent Design and MBSE, said: “The ESA SysML Solution will provide ESA with a domain language, a customized toolset and a methodology that supports the range of space domain standards, processes and documents used by organizations across the space sector. MBSE will reduce costs and improve speed and accuracy, but to achieve this the industry needs to be able to use the most appropriate tools and languages, including SysML, which is now a de facto standard. We are delighted to be supporting ESA by leading this project, which aligns closely with other projects we are working on for the Agency, include the MBSE Hub.”