Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


Jordi Puig-Suari, Ph.D., Professor


Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, California is in the business of designing and engineering satellites for commercial and government customers. This task is by no means a trivial endeavor but Lockheed MartinSunnyvale has many decades of experience in Systems Engineering. Training in systems engineering is a long process whose training tools must be kept up-to-date and appropriate as new advances in technology evolve along-side with the processes that develop these ever-evolving solutions. For many years new systems engineers have been introduced to the Bicycle Model as a paradigm for designing and developing complex systems that are composed of diverse subsystems that interact and function as a whole system. The Bicycle Model originally utilized the idea that a bicycle integrates electrical and mechanical subsystems into a system that provides basic transportation that functions on the input of the operator. This model was relevant back when satellites were merely remote-controlled systems that performed based on input from earth-based operators.

Over the decades, much of satellites’ routine operations have migrated from the earth-based operators to onboard computers where routine tasks are encoded in their flight software. With more and more of the satellites’ functionality now being controlled by software, the present Bicycle Model becomes less and less relevant because the model doesn’t address a major component of the satellites’ design; the onboard flight software. It is time to bring the Bicycle Model up-to-date to address the use of software and its implication and considerations in the design of Lockheed Martin’s products. This is the focus of this project; to update the Bicycle Model training exercise to incorporate Electrical, Mechanical and Software interfaces in a complex system.