CE: Systems Engineering

CE Systems Engineers provide overall conceptual design and performance prediction for projects, as well as specialized support in those engineering areas that require a high degree of cross disciplinary knowledge. The group's broad experience enables them to provide engineering services that range from tightly focused support in a specialty area to overall systems responsibility for large projects. They have particular expertise in ground and space-based astronomy hardware, and the ability to translate scientific requirements into realistic and robust designs. Specific experience includes:

  • Conceptual design and trade studies.
  • Thermal system design and analysis, for both space and ground-based telescopes and instruments.
  • Optical systems design and analysis.
  • Systems engineering documentation, including specifications and requirements, error budgets, and performance prediction.
  • Control Systems, including spacecraft pointing and attitude, aspect determination, and active control of mechanical systems.
  • Test Support, including software for data acquisition, real-time data capture, and test data analysis.

Engineering Tools:
Specific software tools available to support systems and thermal engineering work include:

  • Thermal modelers: SINDA, TRASYS, TAK-3, RadCad, TMG, etc.)
  • General Analysis: SDRC I-DEAS, MathCad, and MATLAB.
  • Visual Data Analysis: PV-Wave, IDL, pgplot, smongo.
  • Optical Modeling and Analysis: OSAC, Code V.
  • SAO developed software: Systems engineering staff also write specialized software when needed.

Laboratory Facilities:
Central Engineering operates a number of newly constructed engineering laboratories at Cambridge Discovery Park, including a large assembly, test, and calibration area and a dedicated Materials/Thermal Test Laboratory. Among the equipment available to support systems and thermal engineering are:

  • Optical benches and surface plates
  • Clean tents and flow benches
  • Thermal chambers
  • Data acquisition equipment, both analog and computerized digital
  • Vacuum systems
  • X-ray test facilities
These are described in more detail here

Current and Recently Completed Projects


  AIA Optical Alignment
Engineers Using a ZYGO Interferometer to Optically Align an AIA Telescope (Click here for a larger version of the image.)

Section Photo