Program interfaces. This factor accounts for the degree to which interfaces external to the development program impact launch system design and development and reflects the expected number of interfaces with multiple contractors and/or centers. Options include low or high number of major interfaces involving multiple contractors and/or centers.

Pre-development study. This factor accounts for the depth of analysis supporting the vehicle design and reflects the level of study efforts that were conducted or are being conducted before the start of design and development. Choices for the predevelopment study level include two or more study contracts in phases A and B, with more than 9 months of study; one study contract with between 9 and 18 months of study; and less than 9 months of prephase C and D study.

Two factors not considered by the NAFCOM costing methodology are the breadth of the supplier base, particularly the implications of relying on single-source suppliers, and the degree to which the commercial market may influence future launch costs. The implications of reusable boosters for the U.S. launch industry are difficult to predict. The baseline RBS program assumes eight boosters would satisfy Air Force needs over the entire RBS life cycle. Cost models for the sustainment of these vehicles and the associated industrial support that will be required are largely absent. The potential implications for the commercial market are addressed in the next section.

The committee evaluated the NAFCOM inputs used by the Air Force in its costing analysis for the other system characteristics, which are shown in Figure 4.2. The committee agrees that these input factors are appropriate given the state of the RBS concept.


FIGURE 4.2 Additional NASA/Air Force Cost Model inputs for other characteristics. NOTE: RBD, reusable booster demonstrator; RBS, reusable booster system. SOURCE: Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, SMC Developmental Planning, “Reusable Booster System Costing,” presentation to the committee, February 15, 2012. Approved for Public Release.

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