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TRW process improvements for rapid concept designs

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4 Author(s)
J. C. Helm ; Space & Technol. Group, TRW Inc., Redondo Beach, CA, USA ; K. K. Parsons ; S. F. Sepahban ; R. C. Evans

In the age of `faster, better, cheaper', aerospace contractors are working differently to remain competitive. Part of this change in focus is the speed and quality demanded of initial concept designs and rough cost/risk assessments. The quality of conceptual designs is extremely important in the aerospace industry. Recent studies show that over seventy percent of the decisions which directly impact a program's life-cycle cost are made in the conceptual design phase. Conceptual designs, including cost and risk assessments, are used by customers to determine space mission feasibility and by contractors to make business and strategic decisions. The speed with which concept designs are generated can adversely impact their effectiveness. While rapid concept designs can be beneficial to the customer in the short-term, they can be detrimental to the overall program in the long-run if an insufficient amount of thought was put into the design. A process which can both shorten the time required and improve the quality of concept designs is extremely valuable. TRW has answered this need with an institutional capability implemented in the Integrated Concept Development Facility (ICDF). In use today at TRW, the ICDF is succeeding in its two primary goals - shorter time and higher quality for conceptual designs. This paper provides a broad overview of the benefits of using this type of design environment for complex aerospace systems. It describes in detail the key goals for the ICDF at its inception, the process improvements made in order to meet these goals, the current ICDF processes, and future developments to improve the existing facility

Published in:

Aerospace Conference, 1999. Proceedings. 1999 IEEE  (Volume:5 )

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