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  • The Roles of Design and Cybernetics for Planetary Probe Missions

Balint, Tibor and Hall, Ashley, 2015, Conference or Workshop, The Roles of Design and Cybernetics for Planetary Probe Missions at 12th International Planetary Probe Workshop, Cologne, Germany, June 19th 2015.

Abstract or Description:

Planetary probe missions—as part of an overall space exploration strategy—have helped us to experience and learn about planets and moons in our solar system, with sizable atmospheres. These engineering and scientific achievements contributed to our evolving understanding of the universe around us. While the natural phenomena of the world are independent of humanity, their scientific exploration is part of our human experience. The humanities discipline provides reflections from an anthropocentric point of view, while design requires an active participation by humans. Thus, from these three categories of Sciences, Humanities and Design, we can place scientists into the Science category, while engineers, designers, and other practitioners who create novel parts, systems, artifacts, and processes are part of the Design category. In engineering, once the initial needs (usability or desirability) are identified, technology goals and requirements (feasibility) are given, and the resources (viability) are provided, a project is being developed through a mostly linear fashion. Complex multi-part systems, and mission architectures require system-thinking and integrated-thinking, where iterative methods are used. In a cybernetic sense, throughout project execution feedback is provided to the engineers and project managers (regulators). In a linear engineering and management framework the gathered information allows the regulator to make required adjustments to achieve the set out technical development goals within the available resources. At a higher strategic level within the organizational hierarchy, there can be additional misaligned contributing factors to projects, turning a linear engineering development into an incomplete problem with changing requirements and without a clear possible solution. This is termed to be a wicked problem. In comparison, design is a non-linear discipline, where the feed-back broadens the regulator’s understanding and knowledge (variety) allowing the designer to identify new previously unseen options from an added dynamic anthropocentric perspective. Design Thinking not only accounts for usability, feasibility and viability, but harmonies them in a human centered way. Designing items for human spaceflight, we call humanly space objects, requires special considerations, yet some of these could be applied to planetary probe missions as well. Through multiple divergence and convergence design phases, options are created to understand the problem at hand, from which the root problem is identified. Subsequently, design trade options are created, then the perceived best approach is selected for development. In this paper we discuss the generalized category and various aspects of planetary probe missions through the lens of cybernetics and non-linear design, as applied to mission architectures, system design, operational processes, and ways of communicating the findings throughout all development and mission phases to various stakeholders. We will also discuss how the understanding and leveraging of cybernetics and human centered design can enhance current practices and innovative space technology developments, which are still dominated by engineering, technology and management approaches.

Official URL: http://ippw12.dlr.de
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W240 Industrial/Product Design
School or Centre: School of Design
Identification Number or DOI: -
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2016 13:35
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2016 13:35
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1716

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