In this context, performance prediction tools can be very helpful during the concept phase of a project to help selecting the best design solution. In the first section of this paper we present the development of such a prediction tool that can be used by the system engineer to determine the overall performance of the system and to evaluate the impact on the science based on the proposed design. This tool can also be used in "what-if" design analysis to assess the impact on the overall performance of the system based on the simulated numbers calculated by the automated system performance prediction tool. Having such a tool available from the beginning of a project can allow firstly for a faster turn-around between the design engineers and the systems engineer and secondly, between the systems engineer and the instrument scientist. Following the first section we described the process for constructing a performance estimator tool, followed by describing three projects in which such a tool has been utilised to illustrate how such a tool have been used in astronomy projects. The three use-cases are; EAGLE, one of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) Multi-Object Spectrograph (MOS) instruments that was studied from 2007 to 2009, the Multi-Object Optical and Near-Infrared Spectrograph (MOONS) for the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), currently under development and SST-GATE.
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