1746. The Critical Measure of Space Transportation


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S L Win: 1746. The Critical Measure of Space Transportation. 1986.



Among the critical evaluation parameters used for space transportation systems concept selection, life-cycle cost is becoming the one of most significant value to the government. The aerospace industry is currently involved in large-scale space transportation architecture studies intended to identify a vehicle inventory that will achieve an order of magnitude reduction in current space transportation costs. To achieve reduction in the total cost of any future vehicle, identification of the system costs must be established very early in the acquisition process. This requires optimization of system design, with input from many engineering disciplines. Major components of this cost include technology readiness studies, full-scale development, vehicle production, facilities construction, ground support equipment design and production’ operations, and hardware refurbishment. Industry-accepted methods for estimating the costs of these program elements typically depend heavily on the integral involvement of the mass properties engineer in the assessment of system lifecycle cost. Mass properties engineers are faced with the challenge of generating the vehicle sizing parameters and other input, upon which many of these cost estimates are based. To support concept trade studies and proper cost documentation, these estimates should follow the study work breakdown structure to maintain an interrelationship between cost and weight documentation. Correlation between existing detailed weight estimates and these parametric estimates must be continually monitored, with particular attention focused on trends and potential anomalies. Timely generation of vehicle sizing parameters and, in turn, the responsive estimation of system costs can greatly impact the design and resultant cost effectiveness of space systems under consideration. With transportation cost the driving parameter of new space systems, mass properties and cost development engineers are required to develop an integral database that can respond to the various types of input. Design-to-cost goals for space systems can then be established early in concept development and realized throughout the life of the program.


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