Chapter 3

Introduction to the Antarctica Life Support Facility Case Study 1

“There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for, and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

“There is another theory which states that this has already happened.”

Douglas Adams

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, vol. II

Antarctica, or rather the Antarctica Life Support Facility that will be discussed over the following chapters, serves as a foundation for teaching systems engineering. In creating and publishing this case study, we have two main aims:

– to illustrate the systems engineering approach using an attractive, sufficiently complex and representative case study; and

– to use this study as a pretext to stimulate reflection on certain notions or concepts of systems engineering, some of which seem, to us, to have taken a wrong turning in the past.

We shall therefore approach this case study from two perspectives, that of supply and that of acquisition. We will show the journey from an initial idea to fulfillment in engineering terms, i.e. the definition of the solution, without going as far as the development or creation/production of this solution. We offer a general approach, indications and recommendations on activities to carry out, and we shall present certain techniques and methods to be used. However, we shall not cover the case in its ...

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