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Update: Growth of robotic missions systems engineering and program management costs

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3 Author(s)
Shinn, S. ; Appl. Phys. Lab., Johns Hopkins Univ., Laurel, MD, USA ; Wolfarth, L. ; Whitley, S.

Previous analyses examined how recent changes affected the costs of systems engineering (SE) and program management (PM) in APL's robotic aerospace missions. The disciplines of SE and PM have evolved in recent years, resulting in a more robust set of processes, activities, and expectations. Our earlier research found increases in both estimated and realized APL costs for SE and PM activities since 1995 but no definitive rationale. The results for a data set expanded to include external missions are mixed. Program and project management costs as a percentage of spacecraft costs have remained stable over time. After controlling for spacecraft costs, SE costs exhibit a statistically significant increase by launch year. As a percentage of total mission cost, neither PM nor SE costs show an upward trend. Eleven of 15 programs examined exhibited growth in total PM and SE costs between successive milestones, mostly accounted for by corresponding changes in spacecraft and mission costs. Our expanded NASA data set allows us to characterize trends that can help predict future cost increases for SE and PM disciplines, and to apply more sophisticated statistical analyses. The current paper summarizes new results obtained after expanding our analyses with data from external sources.

Published in:

Aerospace Conference, 2011 IEEE

Date of Conference:

5-12 March 2011

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