Designing spacecraft is a complex endeavor. There is a lot to consider, from power requirements, scientific purpose, payload limits, and more. Also complicating the matter is that it is not always clear what projects will have priority, and will receive funding.
It used to take months of designing, revising, and planning just to reach a viable proposal. This would cost significant resources, not to mention tie-up the valuable time of the NASA scientists and engineers working on the project. And, in the end, most of the proposed missions would never receive the funding necessary to enter the next phase of development.
That is why NASA has taken a new approach to initial design proposals. Known as the Collaborative Modeling for Parametric Assessment of Space Systems (COMPASS) Lab, scientists and engineers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center work together over a few short weeks to complete the initial designs of the next generation of craft that will explore our solar system.
redOrbit visited the Cleveland, Ohio, facility to see first hand how these talented teams work together to complete these advanced projects in such a short period of time.