Space mission design is a complex discipline. Several research studies are currently investigating how to ameliorate the process. Since the decision taken during the early phases of the project are those which affect the most the final solution of a system in terms of architecture, configuration, and cost, more efforts are sunk in these stages for not jeopardizing the entire product life-cycle stages. As the stakeholders and the other actors involved in the design process should face low levels of knowledge associated to the system in the conceptual stages, the decision-making process is intrinsically affected by uncertain results. Each choice made in this risky scenario affects the next design iterations, therefore a suitable design approach is needed. Several methodologies have been proposed by both academia and industry in the field of System Engineering (SE). The current trend is to adopt a Model Based System Engineering (MBSE) approach coupled with Concurrent Engineering (CE) paradigms. The model-based methodology overcomes the weaknesses of a document-based one, aggregating all the relevant information and engineering data into a system model, which evolves as the real system throughout all the product life-cycle phases. The systematic CE approach is able to involve several experts in a multidisciplinary working context, where data, ideas, and solutions are shared at the same time using a common platform. Both the approaches help to shorten time and cost of the overall design process and prevent possible mistakes which could worsen the final solution if not identified earlier enough, thus maximizing the efficiency of each design session. However, negotiations still result to be as one of the most complicated and frustrating part of the whole design process. Moreover, the recent space exploration scenarios proposed by national agencies are characterized by multiple actors of different extractions, but commonly participating into shaping future goals. The broader is the international cooperation framework, the more complex will be to design a space mission, especially considering the negotiation goals to be handled by the different experts involved. The present Ph.D. thesis is aiming to cast some lights on the integration of Virtual Reality (VR) within the standard design tools to assist the space mission design process. The creation of a virtual model for simulating different features of a system allows to analyse aspects which may be overlooked, especially in the early design phases, such as ergonomics, operations, and training. The intuitive interaction with human senses and the immersion into a 3D Virtual Environment (VE) guarantee fundamental improvements and evaluation of different solutions that are updated in real-time, benefitting the entire design process, especially the early phases. The visualization of different system features at a single glance permits direct data and information exchange, enabling more direct communications among the design team. The possibility to use a distributed and shared architecture, implemented into a standard Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) setup, enhances in-depth analysis even in the product development phase. This unique VE can simulate functional and physical behaviours of the virtual replica, helping to optimize future space systems. To test the VR-based methodology, a first proof of concept has been generated following the recent incremental and evolutionary architecture strategy of considering the Moon as the next step for the human exploration of Mars and the Solar System. According the exploration roadmaps, a permanent surface base is envisioned as an efficient test-bed for assessing critical technologies to be used for future deep-space endeavours. A preliminary mission scenario has been generated which targets to settle the outpost at the lunar south pole. The peculiar environment conditions make the area rich in volatiles to examine and exploit, especially considering the permanently shadowed regions that are supposed to contain icy water deposits, which are of paramount importance for human missions. A closed-loop power system, comprising solar panels, batteries, fuel cells, electrolysers, has been sized according the settlement power needs. This research work presents an integrated simulation case study that has been run using a VE to arrive at a preliminary estimate of the performance of both the power system and the VR tool. Virtues and vices of the proposed VR-based methodology have been listed together with possible future improvements for this research field.
|Titolo:||Multidisciplinary modelling and simulation for assisting the space mission design process using Virtual Reality|
|Data di pubblicazione:||12-set-2018|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||8.1 Doctoral thesis Polito|