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A nascent analysis methodology is presented to support long-term decision making for space exploration. The methodology is executed in a system-of-systems engineering framework which includes a unifying lexicon for problem definition (across disciplines) and establishment of modeling boundaries. The three phase framework and the underlying methodology is applied to the task of generating and evaluating space exploration architectures. In particular, the proof-of concept examines a solar system mobility network, which embodies a more versatile exploration strategy through a distributed capabilities approach. Since extensive reporting of the full set of simulation results that have been obtained are outside the paper's scope, the focus is instead on illustrating how the system-of-systems methodology can illuminate implications of various technical, operational, policy, and economic decisions. The overarching goal of the research is better informed decision making at the system-of-systems level.
Date of Conference: 16-18 April 2007