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.

Engineers working in the Concurrent Design Facility.

​​​​​​​​​Concurrent Design Facility

Credit: STFC RAL Space
​​​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