We all (Industry and Agencies) are confronted with the difficulty to exchange knowledge when working together in large projects such as our Space Systems development and Operations. Although we have made a lot of progress in modelling information and developing information systems in the last decades, we still have difficulties in exchanging and reusing safely and efficiently the data and information.
Often, the reuse of the exchanged data is still negatively impacted by the lack of semantic compatibility between the processes used by the suppliers to generate and maintain the data to exchange, and those used by the customers, the users of the exchanged data.
Many attempts to address this problem have been taken in the past, but experience shows that in the usual setup of diverse and heterogeneous consortia in changing configurations it is not sufficient if one partner (e.g. a Prime, an Agency) is prescribing a specific view of the data (e.g. a single information system answering all partners' needs). It is also not sufficient to apply an exchange standard that one organization promotes to ensure that the quality of data is maintained through the exchange.
Through the years, discipline experts have solved a lot, and today exchanging discipline specific data between discipline experts is often going well. However, interoperating at "System" (or global) level is still highly problematic and complicated. The lack of adequate means to exchange knowledge/information/data results in additional tasks, such as re-qualification of the exchanged data, and therefore in additional risks and costs.
In 2010, within its E-TM-10-23A, ECSS has explained the difficulty of "working together" and raised the need for new languages/methods/processes to interoperate at the semantic level, implying the need for "Global" modelling. Since then, many of us have been working on finding solutions to the E-TM-10-23A expressed challenge.
The preliminary agenda includes:
- Presentation of the ECSS-E-TM-10-23A Space System Data Repository and its recommendations on how to address information modelling and interoperability
- Introduction to some generic semantic modelling languages including:
- OWL (Ontology Web Language)
- ORM (Object Role Modelling)
- FAMOUS (Fact Based Modelling Unifying System – ESA R&D)
- Presentation of some semantic modelling tools including:
- Presentation of on-going work of interest for the creation of a Space System Ontology in Europe
- ECSS Terms and Definitions, eGlossary
- SysML and on-going SysML2 evolution
- NASA Space System Ontology
- CCSDS Electronic Data Sheets
- On-going reverse engineering of the Capella MBSE tool
- Conceptualization of the ECSS-E-ST-70 information models (e.g. PUS-C Foundation)
- Development of the “skeleton” of a European Space System Ontology (ESA new TRP)
- Open discussion on how to establish the “Space System Ontology Governance” required for a successful evolution to semantic interoperability