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Unformatted text preview: ory of what life should be like." I am not quite
sure if the experience which produced this hand book can be described exactly this way, yet the
sentiment seems reasonably close.
—Dr. Edward J. Hoffman
Program Manager, NASA Headquarters
Spring 1995 NASA Systems Engineering Handbook
Foreword to the September 1992 Draft
When NASA began to sponsor agency -wide
classes in systems engineering, it was to a
doubting audience. Top management was quick to
Administrator stated "How can you teach an
agency-wide systems engineering class when we
cannot even agree on how to define it?" Good
question, and one I must admit caused us
considerable concern at that time. The same doubt
continued up until the publication of this handbook.
The initial systems engineering education
conference was held in January 1989 at the
representatives from other Centers at tended this
meeting and it was decided then that we needed
to form a working group to support the
development of appropriate and tailored systems
engineering courses. At this meeting the
representatives from Marshal1 Space Flight Center
(MSFC) expressed a strong desire to docu ment
their own historic systems engineering process
before any more of the key players left the Center.
Other Centers also expressed a desire, if not as
urgent as MSFC, to document their processes.
It was thought that the best way to reflect the
totality of the NASA systems engineering process
and to aid in developing the needed training was
to prepare a top level (Level 0) document that
would contain a broad definition of systems
engineering, a broad process outline, and typi cal
tools and procedures. In general, we wanted a top
level overview of NASA systems engineering. To
this document would be appended each Center's
unique systems engineering manual. The group
was well aware of the diver sity each Center may have, but agreed that this approach would be quite
The next step and the most difficult in this
arduous process was to find some...
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