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NASA is planning a series of short and long duration human and robotic missions to explore the Moon and then Mars. A key objective of the missions is to grow, through a series of launches, a system of systems communication, navigation, and timing infrastructure at minimum cost while providing a network-centric infrastructure that maximizes the exploration capabilities and science return. There is a strong need to use architecting processes in the mission pre-formulation stage, to describe the systems, interfaces, and interoperability needed to implement multiple space communication systems that are deployed over time, yet support interoperability with each deployment phase and with 20 years of legacy systems. In this paper we present a process for defining the architecture of the communications, navigation, and networks needed to support future, space explorers with the best adaptable and evolable network-centric space exploration infrastructure. The process steps presented are: 1) architecture decomposition, 2) defining mission systems and their interfaces, 3) developing the communication, navigation, networking architecture, and 4) integrating systems, operational and technical views and viewpoints. We demonstrate the process through the architecture development of the communication network for upcoming NASA space exploration missions.
Date of Conference: 16-18 April 2007