The definition of teamwork
The DEFINE project, which focuses on “multidisciplinary 3D digital models for AIT (assembly, integration, testing) environments” is one of Jotne and ESA’s biggest collaborations to date. Kjell tells me that their partnership “will bring benefits to all parts of ESA’s extra-planetary exploration from design and construction of spacecraft to integration and test procedures”. At the centre of his work, once again, is the ISO 10303 standardized format. Adapted to digital models and simulation data for spacecraft development, Jotne is making full use of what is known as AP 209: Application protocol: Multidisciplinary analysis and design. The life cycle of a product from conception to use (and, beyond this, replacement and recycling) is usually broken into distinct phases to facilitate conceptualization and management. Application protocols describe the procedures that are carried out during each of these phases.
The use of ISO standards, and application protocols like AP 242/209, put traceability and accountability at the heart of the approach. Kjell has already highlighted the primary advantages: information that can be reliably accessed and shared; a clear record of what has been done, and by whom; and the ability to apply the information to other projects. But in addition to this, he tells me, “there are regulatory requirements to maintain test data, especially when it comes to highly regulated sectors like civil aviation or space launches”. Providing a solid platform on which companies like Jotne and organizations like the ESA can work together, ISO standards combine clarity of purpose with flexibility of approach. Such versatility is something to be cherished. After all, partnerships like ESA and Jotne’s are answering some of the biggest questions about both the origins, and the future, of life on our planet. Answers that give rise to further questions...
Whilst it’s likely that none of us will ever see the whole picture, it’s reassuring to know that standards provide a frame around a workable canvas, bringing order to impossibly large projects, and transforming them into blocks that can be shared and built upon. That’s good news for people like Kjell, and companies like Jotne, who just can’t keep themselves from innovating.