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This handbook was written to bring the fundamental concepts and techniques of systems engineering to NASA personnel in a way that recognizes the nature of NASA systems and the NASA environment. The authors readily acknowledge that this goal will not be easily realized. One reason is that not everyone agrees on what systems engineering is, nor on how to do it. There are legitimate differences of opinion on basic definitions, content, and techniques. Systems engineering itself is a broad subject, with many different aspects. This initial handbook does not (and cannot)
This handbook consists of five core chapters: (1) systems engineering's intellectual process, (2) the NASA project life cycle, (3) management issues in systems engineering, (4) systems analysis and modeling issues, and (5) engineering specialty integration. These core chapters are supplemented by appendices, which can be expanded to accommodate any number of templates and examples to illustrate topics in the core chapters. The handbook makes extensive use of sidebars to define, refine, illustrate, and extend concepts in the core chapters without diverting the reader from the main argument. There are no footnotes; sidebars are used instead. The structure of the handbook also allows for additional sections and chapters to be added at a later date. Finally, the handbook should be considered only a starting point. Both NASA as a systems engineering organization, and systems engineering as a discipline, are undergoing rapid evolution. Over the next five years, many changes will no doubt occur, and some are already in progress. NASA, for instance, is moving toward implementation of the standards in the International Standards Organization (ISO) 9000 family, which will affect many aspects of systems engineering. In systems engineering as a discipline, efforts are underway to merge existing systems engineering standards into a common American National Standard on the Engineering of Systems, and then ultimately into an international standard. These factors should be kept in mind when using this handbook.
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"NASA Systems Engineering Handbook"
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