We at AGI are observing several forces and trends among the spacecraft flight dynamics teams that we work with. The space industry is moving towards smaller missions whereas in the past it took large teams and huge programs to launch and fly satellites. Flight dynamics teams can now be much smaller and even work from distributed geographic areas. Commercial space is also exploding with huge satellite constellations being proposed.
This new environment requires more specialized team preparedness but also integrated team preparedness. Flight dynamics teams must be trained using realistic simulation of events that could actually happen in the mission.
Additionally, did you know that 5% of the mission requires 95% of the preparation? No? Well that might be because we made up that statistic, but you get the point. Launch and early operations, and other critical mission events such as maneuvers are a small part of the mission timeline but require the most preparation. This is compounded by the fact that any mistakes in execution during these events can have significant impacts on the mission success. This 5% of the mission (give or take) is where anomalies are most likely to occur and if your flight dynamics team isn’t well prepared they might not know how to handle it.
Operational readiness tests have proven to be very effective in the success of a mission. Preparing with realistic simulations provides operators with a sense of readiness and establishes a methodology that they can use during flight to react to anomalies and mission changes.
Learn how you can properly prepare your flight dynamics team for whatever they might face in this fast changing and exciting modern space and defense industry with this Tech Talk from Dr. Jim Woodburn: