CCE Theses and Dissertations


Using concept Maps for Knowledge Acquisition in Satellite Design: Translating "Statements of Requirements on Orbit" to "Design Requirements"

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Information Systems (DCIS)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Sumitra Mukherjee

Committee Member

Maxine S. Cohen

Committee Member

William L. Hafner


This is the 46th year of America as a "Space Faring Nation." Two generations of satellite-engineers have designed, developed, and refined the processes, technologies, and techniques for building satellites. The first generation of satellite pioneers has left the industry. The second generation of satellite engineers is rapidly approaching retirement. Much of the design process knowledge they have will depart with them unless it is codified in some usable way. A way to harvest, retain, and efficiently re-use the design process knowledge of the corps of senior satellite experts is needed to close the gaps among rapidly changing technologies, declining resources, and the need for new satellites. Design process knowledge can be adapted to the use of new materials, fabrication techniques, and resource constraints, if it is captured and made available for re-use.

The search for possible cost savings and increases in efficiency is leading to the application of knowledge acquisition tools and knowledge management methods. This research project attempted to collect, understand, and reuse the knowledge of multiple domain experts on design processes that drive initial design decisions associated with translating "Requirements on Orbit" to "Design Requirements." This research applied concept maps as a knowledge acquisition and representation tool among multiple domain experts in the translation from a statement of requirements to design requirement specifications. There were three specific goals for this research. They were: (1) demonstrating how concept maps can be used for knowledge acquisition among multiple domain experts; (2) developing a prototype knowledge representation model from the concept maps for guiding the development of design requirements from "Statements of Requirements on Orbit" (3) assessing the utility of that prototype knowledge acquisition and representation model by examination of a limited problem set.

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