A Framework for Spacecraft Information Modeling
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This paper brings our space architects’ perspective to applying Building Information Modeling (BIM) to the design of crewed spacecraft and space habitats. We examine mature BIM’s contributions to terrestrial architectural and engineering design, and the applicability of BIM lessons learned to spacecraft design that might inform a Spacecraft Information Modeling (ScIM) framework. We suggest specific instances in which BIM frameworks such as Levels of Development (LOD), Industry Foundation Classes (IFC), and Construction Operation Building Information Exchange (COBIE) may be applied to human spacecraft design. We undertake an organizational study of the relevant SciM framework and taxonomies to enable greater crewed spacecraft design efficiencies and optimization for risk mitigation, mass and mission cost. Such a framework considers semantic object classification and relationships by location, typology, function, and material. As a proposed design methodology, a ScIM solution for human spacecraft design integrates the life support system with other spacecraft systems: primary and secondary structure, non-structural elements, spacecraft utilities, and architectural specialties. The authors consider an example of a previously-design spacecraft and map it onto a ScIM framework, concluding with suggestions for further research in bringing BIM-like design processes to crewed spacecraft design.