321. What Price Payload Miniaturization?


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D J Zigrang: 321. What Price Payload Miniaturization?. 1962.



This paper was presented at the Twenty-first Annual National Conference of the Society of Aeronautical Weight Engineers at Seattle, Washington, May 14-17, 1962. The exploration of space will be so expensive that the optimization of space systems with regard to cost is of paramount importance. A portion of the space system cost optimization problem – the economics of payload miniaturization – is examined in this paper. Essentially, the law of diminishing return is applied to the miniaturization of space payload subsystems. A ‘law’ is derived that is applicable to those subsystems that can be miniaturized if a greater subsystem cost can be tolerated. The law states that miniaturized subsystems should cost lees per pound of mass than it costs to transport one pound of mass into space.
The analysis is applied to a typical miniaturized payload subsystem. A parametric analysis involving the principal variable leads to the conclusion that the optimum specific payload cost (cost per pound) is approximately one-half to two-thirds the specific boosting cost.
Finally, it is concluded that the analysis yields a tool useful to the weight engineer in making design decisions. If specific costs encountered for payload subsystems are substantially greater or less than the specific boosting cost, at least a cursory examination should be made to determine if the degree of subsystem miniaturization is a proper one.


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