Concurrent Design Facility
22 Jun 2011



The RAL Space Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) is designed for the quick and efficient conceptual design of complex space systems.

The Concurrent Design Facility

​​​​​​​​​Concurrent Design Facility

​​​The CDF has been developed by RAL Space Engineers, but incorporates the experience and best practice of other CDFs located overseas (for example ESA-ESTEC, NASA, ASI, CNES, JAXA and DLR).

The RAL Space CDF consists of three elements:

  • The Facility: The room itself, the IT and communications hardware and the specialist space mission design software that enable engineers to design individual elements of a complex mission.

  • The Tools: The primary tool is the design database software which automatically links the design of the individual elements of a mission into a coherent system

  • The Methodology: The process for efficiently coordinating the design activities of Engineers and Scientists in a concurrent design environment.
These three elements of the CDF enable novel space concepts to be quickly and efficiently assessed from technical, financial and programmatic points-of-view.

The key benefits of utilising the RAL Space CDF for Mission studies are:

  • ​Study Quality: The rigorous and systematic approach to the design process helps ensure that the results are of a consistently high standard.

  • Efficiency: ESA and other CDF operators report a reduction in assessment study costs by a factor of two and elapsed time by a factor of four.

  • Reduced Risk: Examining the entire system at an early stage helps avoid surprises in the implementation and exploitation phases of the project.

  • Fostering Collaboration: Teams of scientists and engineers from different organisations and countries are able to start work together on real projects quickly, build collaborations and profit from each other's strengths.

  • Stimulating Innovation: New ideas and concepts can be refined, elaborated and assessed from scientific, technical and business points-of-view and take them to the next level of maturity.

The RAL Space CDF has been used for a ​wide variety of previous studies:

​HAGRID (study report)​​
​An early warning system for space weather events.
​Mars Hopper
​A Mars lander with long-range autonomy and a novel propulsion system.
​Tropical Carbon Mission
​A mission for monitoring atmospheric carbon from space.
​Project BA/Lunar Mission One
​A Lunar lander mission near the Moon’s south pole.
​Project BA Return
​A Lunar sample return mission.
​UK Launch
​An assessment of the UK launch market.
​HexSat (HexSwarm mission pa​per​)
​Use of swarm satellites for self-assembly in-orbit.

The CDF is maintained by STFC and is available to the wider UK space community to help ensure the UK remains internationally competitive.​

For more information please contact: RAL Space Enquiries