The goal of interface management is to identify, define, control, and verify interfaces; ensure compatibility; provide an efficient system development; be on time and within budget; while meeting stakeholder requirements. This paper will cover a successful seven-step approach to the interface development process. Emphasis will be given to best practices covering key areas such as interface definition, writing good interface requirements, utilizing interface working groups, developing and controlling interface documents, how to handle interface agreements, the use of shadow documents, the importance of interface requirement ownership, interface verification, and product transition.
The seven-step approach will be illustrated by interface examples from the Materials International Space Station Experiment-X (MISSE-X) and the Ares I-X project. The MISSE-X was being developed as an International Space Station (ISS) external platform for space environmental studies designed to advance the technology readiness of materials and devices critical for future space exploration and the Ares I-X project was the first step in a series of new rocket designs building on Space Shuttle technology to replace the Space Shuttle. The Ares I-X won Time Magazine’s Invention of the year for 2009 and the Agency’s prestigious Systems Engineering Excellence Award for 2010.