Systems Engineering Toolbox Development within Context of Lunar Robot

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Butler, Nathan
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Mechanical Engineering
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The field of systems engineering covers a vast array of disciplines, resulting in a heightened need for effective tools to assist with organization and communication of various project aspects. Many such tools exist, but variations in equipment requirements across users makes it difficult for one software to incorporate every need at a low cost. This issue is especially pertinent to student organizations like the Cardinal Space Mining Club, where limited budgets and specialized equipment requirements reduce access to advanced systems engineering software tools. It was therefore necessary to develop an inexpensive systems engineering toolbox capable of meeting the needs of this student organization, and by extension other groups requiring similar technology. Beginning in the summer and then working in parallel with the club's fall design season, a Microsoft-based toolbox was developed to support activities such as requirements decomposition, interface management, risk assessment, trade-off studies, and more. Real-time feedback was provided from club users, and the toolbox was subsequently refined as necessary. By the end of the fall semester, the kit had been used to design a prototype lunar mining robot with assembly and testing planned for the spring where continued toolbox development will occur. This tool has been designed such that it can be generalized to meet the basic requirements of most systems engineering projects, with included flexibility for multiple levels of customization according to implementation needs.
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