As space agencies develop new capabilities, they often encounter gaps and unforeseen barriers that complicate the process of integrating those initiatives across missions and systems. Working for decades on civil and defense space missions, Booz Allen has seen that it saves time, rework, and costs to keep the mission central to the process—and speed progress by connecting legacy systems with state-of-the-art innovation.
Here are some of the most common issues that hold up system development:
- Incomplete big-picture mission perspective—Systems of systems are often so complex that technical teams operate without a comprehensive understanding of the external interdependencies that exist across the system and the missions with which it interacts.
- Siloed legacy technologies—Satellites developed as monolithic, proprietary systems back in the “space as a sanctuary” days have significant vulnerabilities but are costly to upgrade, while ground systems and devices have incompatible standards and interfaces.
- Disjointed communication—Various engineering teams and contractors, each tasked to work on a different part of the system, rely on documentation in varying formats and lack a common understanding and vocabulary.
- Ineffective inclusion of cybersecurity—Adding cybersecurity into a system after the fact continues to be a major cause of schedule delays and added risks. System and cybersecurity experts often recreate existing documentation, requiring the system to be reworked to accommodate cyber controls—possibly to the detriment of mission performance.
Here are Booz Allen’s recommendations on how space organizations can unlock efficiencies in fielding and integrating systems through digital systems-of-systems engineering.