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A real options framework for space mission design

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5 Author(s)

A real options framework for use in space mission design is presented. Such a framework has potential application in architecting flexibility in certain mission designs with the objective of maximizing mission utility. It integrates economic principles of cost, return, risk, flexibility, and other concepts from Black-Scholes option pricing theory and the multiplicative binomial process. Options pricing theory provides an objective method for valuing flexibility in making future investment decisions based on new information becoming available; such flexibility may have great value in certain risky ventures. This flexibility in the future may or may not exist without additional investment. The development of investment strategies to create flexibility must include answering the question ''how much can be invested to create the desired flexibility?'' The answer must include a priori estimation of the value that the flexibility provides; in this application the real options framework becomes a powerful tool. The utility of this tool is demonstrated through conceptual examples; these examples also illustrate some limitations of the method. This work is by no means a comprehensive study. At best it attempts to demonstrate that there are techniques and ways of thinking - frameworks - that offer benefits for the complex process of mission design for an uncertain and often risky future.

Published in:

Aerospace Conference, 2005 IEEE

Date of Conference:

5-12 March 2005