Posted by John McHale PARIS, 22 June 2011. Officials at Dassault Systemes are using their Version 6 platform to help EADS Innovation Works and Astrium develop internal engineering methods through the use of functional digital mockup (FDMU) to help design future space vehicles. The FDMU, unlike a digital mockup, is associated more to the 3D geometry of a vehicle, Dassault officials say. Based on Dassault's RFLP (Requirements, Functional, Logical, and Physical) concept, it will add new methods to multi-disciplinary collaboration at various stages of development, using CATIA, ENOVIA, and SIMULIA. The goal is to prove that increased teamwork between the different disciplines will ensure that vehicle solutions which may have otherwise been overlooked will be brought to the forefront and discussed early."We believe that increased collaboration at various steps of the development process by the different disciplines could improve our engineering processes," says Christophe Chavagnac, suborbital space plane project manager and chief engineer, Astrium. "We decided to partner with Dassault Systemes because we believe the functional digital mockup is one innovative approach for streamlining design iterations."Multiple teams including propulsion, aerodynamics, and systems, explore different variants of the future vehicle to come up with a solution that best balances the set of multi-disciplinary requirements. The purpose of the exploration design phase is to review and agree on the most optimized component or vehicle configuration as early as possible.The first results of the project are expected by the end of this year.