Preparing for upcoming space missions or prospective R&D activities, requires not only building the hardware in the laboratory. Before the first instrument can be constructed, engineers and scientists have to work together to come up with the best possible technical design. In order to facilitate collaboration and communication, the APC has installed a Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) at the François Arago Centre in spring 2011. This facility is equipped with a network of computers, multimedia technology and software tools, in order to have a team of experts from several disciplines and in different places around the world to work together. It facilitates a fast and effective interaction of all disciplines involved, ensuring consistent and high-quality results in a much shorter time.
The CDF does not only support the design of mission concepts, but also the precise definition of detectors, systems or subsystems, or any instrumental development that needs to be considered on the system level. The facility provides videoconference equipment and an easy-to-use communication system. Projects can benefit from the CDF by reducing their travel expenses, and are able to organize working meetings in the most flexible way. The CDF can also be used in training and education exercises, allowing to reach out world wide.