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A study of learning curve impact on three identical small spacecraft

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2 Author(s)
Chen, G. ; Dept. of Ind., Morgan State Univ., Baltimore, MD, USA ; McLennan, D.D.

We present the preliminary result of the study on the learning curve impact on three identical small spacecraft. Resources spent on concept development and design can be characterized as "nonrecurring cost" because it is not needed for future units. Nonrecurring cost primarily depends on the mission requirement, and in the case of ST-5, the inherent technological complication. However, recurring cost, the effort and resource spent in building and testing every unit of spacecraft, may be significantly affected by the "learning curve effect", due to the complicated structure of spacecraft or subsystems, as well as the uniqueness of aerospace products. For multispacecraft missions, recurring cost is one of our main concerns. Our research deals with the learning curve impact on the three ST-5 small satellites, including the impact to the entire spacecraft and the impact to primary subsystems, although a majority of ST-5 funding is contributed toward nonrecurring cost. This study is important and useful in assessment of NASA's future multi-spacecraft missions. It may help provide a more accurate estimate of the mission cost and give us an insight leading to possible cost reduction for the future multi-spacecraft missions.

Published in:

Aerospace Conference, 2004. Proceedings. 2004 IEEE  (Volume:6 )

Date of Conference:

6-13 March 2004

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