Working Group F

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Working Group F

State-of-the-Practice for Digital Engineering Transformations in Space Mission Ground Systems


As ground systems for space missions grow in scale and complexity, the implementation of new development methods is required. Advancements in digital technologies are unleashing innovations that provide an opportunity to transform the implementation of ground systems in practice. Digital engineering describes an approach to develop and maintain an integration of data and models to support engineering activities across the system lifecycle using digital technologies. The use of digital technologies in the engineering of ground systems for space applications enables critical and consistent decision-making throughout the lifecycle of a ground system, improves efficiency of engineering practices, improves data sharing and collaboration to develop solutions that meet stakeholder needs. However, implementing digital engineering requires a transformation of organizational culture for many space and defense organizations.

This working group will explore advances in digital engineering practices on space mission ground systems, identify impacts of digital engineering on organizational culture, and identify lessons learned from across organizations including government, civil, and commercial ground systems on transforming the culture to leverage digital engineering. The proposed working group will structure the discussion around the following key questions:

  • What is the state-of-practice within your organization on the use of digital engineering towards the architecting development and implementation of space mission ground systems (e.g., organization-wide or specific to a team, new endeavor or ongoing, used in operational environment or pilot)?
  • What are major challenges within your organization to adopting and applying digital engineering for space mission ground systems? How are these challenges addressed within your organization?
  • What are some practices that have been effective within your organization to enable digital transformation? What are some practices that have been ineffective within your organization and why are those practices ineffective?

The goal of this working group is to gather a collection of experiences, including lessons learned and practices for adopting and implementing digital engineering for space mission ground systems. The resulting summary of practices and lessons learned will provide guidance and awareness to help organizations develop strategies and implement practices that are appropriate for different organizations.

Leads Theresa Beech, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Mark McKelvin, Jr., The Aerospace Corporation


Theresa Beech is the GMSEC Product Development Lead and Acting Deputy Program Manager. She has worked for over 20 years in satellite ground systems, ground system SW design and development, space mission design, and space communications network design for customers around the world. At Goddard, she serves as a ground systems SME interfacing with missions across the Agency. In addition, she acts as the NASA technical lead and ground systems SME with other Agency programs such as the Space Force’s Enterprise Ground System. Prior to working at Goddard, she designed the ground system for the first telecommunications satellite network in Azerbaijan, as well as ground networks in Brazil, Malaysia, and Thailand. She has worked on satellite ground systems for a variety of US government missions including the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, GOES-R, Landsat-8, the Tracking & Data Relay Satellite System, as well as the US Air Force Satellite Control Network. She founded and ran MetiSpace Technologies, a small engineering business dedicated to satellite ground systems engineering. She co-founded the non-profit organizations The Osteosarcoma Collaborative and Because of Daniel and is a member of several advisory committees on grants dedicated to osteosarcoma research. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Physics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a Masters of Science in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington, Seattle.

Dr. Mark McKelvin is a Senior Project Lead in Digital Engineering at The Aerospace Corporation and a Lecturer in the System Architecting and Engineering graduate program at the University of Southern California, Viterbi School of Engineering. In his current role at The Aerospace Corporation, he serves as the technical authority for implementing digital engineering across the space enterprise for a variety of customers. Prior to joining the Aerospace Corporation, he led the development of model-based engineering technology and techniques for space system development at the National Aeronautics Space Administration Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a software system engineer, electrical systems engineer, and fault protection engineer. He is a Senior Member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a member of the leadership board for the International Council on Systems Engineering, Los Angeles Chapter. He earned a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Clark Atlanta University.


Working Group Outbrief
Theresa Beech, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and
Mark McKelvin, The Aerospace Corporation
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