Introduction to Systems Engineering

COURSE NO.: 1155


This course acquaints both the engineer and support personnel with the meaning, terms used, techniques, advantages and
challenges of Systems Engineering for space and related industries. The course deals with the systems approach, managing
and successfully implementing a contract, program or project from inception through its life in the field. Each element in a
program is taken from concept, definition and design, through fabrication, test and operation of the end product by addressing
systems engineering techniques for each step. Topics include requirements identification and development, program planning
and control, system design, system integration, risk management and cost controls.


Include extensive notes and reference materials.


This introductory course addresses the major aspects of systems engineering and is directed toward a broad spectrum of company
employees, ranging from the engineers beginning their careers to managers from specialty engineering design groups or functional
support organizations - all of whom will benefit from knowledge of systems engineering techniques in performance of their job
assignments. The course does not require graduate or undergraduate degrees.


This course teaches an engineering approach which emphasizes addressing all aspects of a system: its requirements, interfaces, cost
constraints, design options and trade-off techniques for carrying out a successful program. The course highlights the importance of
understanding, addressing and verifying requirements and how requirements must permeate every aspect of program activities.
Functional Analysis/Functional Flow diagrams are introduced as a key method of addressing and verifying requirements. System
design methods, sequences, trade studies and interfaces are then covered to follow a typical programs progression. Suporting analyses
usually required in a desgn cycle are summarized along with explanation, examples and use of the "ilities" (reliability, availability,
maintainability, etc.). The important aspects of proper program planning and control, cost estimating and cost containment, risk
management and mitigation and the use of metrics to measure the performance and health of the program are also presented.


  1. Introduction.

    Review of recent space and aviation failures due to lack of Systems Engineering; What is Systems Engineering?

  2. Requirements, Functional Analysis (FA) and Specifications.

    Identification of requirement types (e.g., Functional, Performance, Operational, Test, Interface); how developed,
    allocated and verified. Introduction to FA; Functional Flow Diagrams; requirements-to-functions (methods, sequences);
    requirements implementation. Specification levels (System, Segment, Element, Subsystem, Component); Spec “Trees”
    (“A”, “B” and “C” levels).

  3. System Design.

    The System Design Process and flow sequence; phases (Conceptual, Definition and Development).

  4. Program Planning and Control (PP&C).

    Why PP&C is an important Systems Engineering Function; who does; management hints; tracking and measuring
    program performance; necessary Program Plans.

  5. Trade Studies.

    Methods/types; the trade study step-by-step decision process; generating alternative candidates; trade study
    “pitfalls”/cautions; KT (Kepner/Tregoe) method training.

  6. Systems Integration and Systems Interfaces.

    Integration tasks (e.g., defining, controlling, documenting, compatibility of, and verifying interfaces); other
    Interface/Integration activities (e.g., policies, schematics, Interface Working Groups, operations and schedules).

  7. Operations (Ops) Analysis.

    Ops requirements and analysis; Ops Concept and flow; allocating operations functions to hardware and procedures.

  8. Compatibility Analysis.

    Major types (electrical, mechanical, software/hardware interfaces); what to check; a “how to” outline; margin analyses.

  9. The “ ‘ilities”.

    Namely, Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, Human Factors/Human Engineering, Producability, Safety, Security,
    EMI/EMC; some “how-to’s" of their use; cautions and risks.

  10. Risk Management and Failure Modes & Effects Analysis (FMEA).

    Risk identification, assessment, quantification (high, medium, low) and prioritization; risk handling techniques; Risk
    Mitigation Plans – their content and use; FMEA: what it is; basic analysis method(s); as part of Hazards Analysis.

  11. Systems Analysis.

    Types (e.g., program planning, ops profiles, system simulations, performance estimates, post-test comparisons); inputs
    required, sample tasks and expected outputs.

  12. Metrics.

    What they are; types (Product [Technical Performance Measures – TPM’s] and Process metrics); use of; how to collect;
    goals and goal setting; cautions and guides.

  13. Concurrent Engineering, Technical Quality Management (TQM) and Integrated Product Development (IPD).

    What these are; why use (advantages)/how used; why they do/do not work; pros/cons of these three initiatives.

  14. Costs/Cost Controls.

    Cost terms; technical cost estimating and “pitfalls”; details of “Life-cycle” costs; what is a “Design-to-Cost” program and how
    to implement.

  15. Engineering Plans and “Lessons Learned” Program.

    Types of plans (e.g., Systems Engineering Management Plan, Master Program Plan, Configuration Management Plan,
    Software Development Plans, Safety Plans); typical contents; Collecting “lessons”, documenting, distributing, using/non-use;
    problems with such a “program”.


Mr. Greenspun’s aerospace activities and experience include engineering for telemetry and instrumentation systems; test engineering and
launch site support at Cape Canaveral; systems engineering (design and management); satellite team design representative, air traffic control
systems integration; and new business proposals.  His management roles, in addition to heading the Systems Engineering Group, included nine
years as Engineering Project Manager for Titan Space Launch Vehicles and seven years at Martin Marietta Corporate Headquarters, covering
the Corporation’s Aerospace and Energy Systems Companies and Divisions as Technical Oversight and Audits Director and as Director,
Engineering.  Mr. Greenspun retired in 1994 after serving 38 years at Martin Marietta, later Lockheed Martin.  Since his retirement, he has
been a consultant to industry, primarily in the area of systems engineering support (for both aerospace companies and nuclear waste cleanup
contractors). Activities have included: launch readiness reviews, preparation of program plans, proposal writing, costing and reviews,
requirements identification and integration for both proposed and new programs, and risk analysis/mitigation and training.  Mr. Greenspun’s
Introduction to Systems Engineering
Course is an outgrowth of his class on Systems Engineering taught at Johns Hopkins University in
Baltimore; the Risk Management Course resulted, in part, from his aerospace experience and risk training sessions conducted at the Hanford
Nuclear Waste Site at Richland, Washington.  Mr. Greenspun is an Electrical Engineering graduate from the University of Colorado.


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