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Several useful principles guide the systems engineering process. This chapter describes the concept development that provides the framework in which many, if not most, of the principles are utilized.

2.1 Lifecycle and Development Framework

The first step identifies and understands the key programmatic gates during the lifecycle of a mission. Figure 2.1 shows the key decision points (KDPs) used for NASA projects.6 Much of this book focuses on concept studies (pre-phase A) and concept and technology development (phase A). Experience with previous programs from phase B through phase F is essential to guide the activities in those first two phases of a new program.

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