With the OPS-SAT missions ESA has started a new approach building satellites based on off-the-shelf components for experimental purposes. The expectations were faster development cycles with most advanced technologies at lower costs.

With OPS-SAT in orbit ESA did a “lessons learned” analysis. Despite their very well organized and structured documentation of their missions, the fast development and the many OTS components lead to major challenges to keep the documentation consistent and up to date.

With their general strategy to move to MBSE ESA decided to do a reverse engineering of the OPS-SAT and feed the results into a model. This model will be used as input for further OPS-SAT missions.

GPP Communication retrieved information from existing documents and from many interviews with the engineers who had been involved in the OPS-SAT development. This information was entered into the OPS-SAT Model, which was later reviewed by ESA and the engineers.

The presentation will include some example-diagrams of the OPS-SAT reverse engineering project to discuss the structure and the methodology. It will also highlight, how ESA utilized the reverse engineering project to phase in MBSE methodologies in the organization – in hindsight an excellent approach, which might be applicable for other larger organizations as well.


Peter Gersing is a senior engineering manager at GPP Communication. Throughout his career Peter hold many engineering and management positions in the communication industry at Siemens and Nokia. He joined GPP Communication to run the MBSE project SPEDiT together with the TUM and other German universities. Based on this experience he supported many companies in training and coaching for the introduction of MBSE in their organizations.