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Rapid Cost Assessment of Space Mission Concepts through Application of Complexity-Based Cost Indices

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4 Author(s)
Peterson, C. ; Jet Propulsion Lab., Pasadena, CA ; Cutts, J. ; Balint, T. ; Hall, J.B.

In 2005, the Solar System Exploration Strategic Roadmap Committee (chartered by NASA to develop the roadmap for Solar System Exploration Missions for the coming decades) found itself posed with the difficult problem of sorting through several mission concepts and determining their relative costs. While detailed mission studies are the normal approach to costing, neither the budget nor schedule allotted to the committee could support such studies. Members of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) supporting the committee were given the challenge of developing a semi-quantitative approach that could provide the relative costs of these missions, without requiring an in depth study of the missions. In response to this challenge, a rapid cost assessment methodology based on a set of mission cost/complexity indexes was developed. This methodology also underwent two separate validations, one comparing its results when applied to historical missions, and another comparing its estimates against those of veteran space mission managers. Remarkably good agreement was achieved, suggesting that this approach provides an effective early indication of space mission costs.

Published in:

Aerospace Conference, 2008 IEEE

Date of Conference:

1-8 March 2008