2
Approach

The Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) and the Space Studies Board (SSB) of the NRC, recognizing that the costs of space science research missions were of concern to both the space science and the space technology communities, jointly initiated, organized, and conducted a workshop, under NASA sponsorship, to identify ways to reduce the cost of space science missions. The workshop steering committee was given a Statement of Task that detailed a list of technologies to be considered for their impact on system cost (See Appendix A). Rather than convene a symposium, the committee elected to put together a workshop in which four working groups, working independently, would respond to statements-of-work for two hypothetical mission descriptions. Expanding on the Statement of Task, the chairs of the workshop steering committee charged the workshop participants to ''break out of the ordinary'' and seek innovative approaches to reducing space science research costs. This charge is detailed in Box 2-1.

Each working group was composed of invited participants who were selected for their expertise in space science, advanced space technology, systems engineering, program management, cost and risk analyses, and aerospace policy. They came from industry; academia; government agencies, including NASA and the Department of Defense; and the legislative branch of government. Already familiar with the impetus of the past few years to reduce the size and cost of space science missions, the participants attempted to assess some of the trade-offs between mission goals, technical requirements, costs, and risks that are common to space mission systems engineering and operations (see Table 2-1).

The workshop was held at the NRC's Beckman Center in Irvine, California on October 16-18, 1996. After introductory presentations, participants spent the



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--> 2 Approach The Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) and the Space Studies Board (SSB) of the NRC, recognizing that the costs of space science research missions were of concern to both the space science and the space technology communities, jointly initiated, organized, and conducted a workshop, under NASA sponsorship, to identify ways to reduce the cost of space science missions. The workshop steering committee was given a Statement of Task that detailed a list of technologies to be considered for their impact on system cost (See Appendix A). Rather than convene a symposium, the committee elected to put together a workshop in which four working groups, working independently, would respond to statements-of-work for two hypothetical mission descriptions. Expanding on the Statement of Task, the chairs of the workshop steering committee charged the workshop participants to ''break out of the ordinary'' and seek innovative approaches to reducing space science research costs. This charge is detailed in Box 2-1. Each working group was composed of invited participants who were selected for their expertise in space science, advanced space technology, systems engineering, program management, cost and risk analyses, and aerospace policy. They came from industry; academia; government agencies, including NASA and the Department of Defense; and the legislative branch of government. Already familiar with the impetus of the past few years to reduce the size and cost of space science missions, the participants attempted to assess some of the trade-offs between mission goals, technical requirements, costs, and risks that are common to space mission systems engineering and operations (see Table 2-1). The workshop was held at the NRC's Beckman Center in Irvine, California on October 16-18, 1996. After introductory presentations, participants spent the

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--> BOX 2-1 Message from the Chairs The workshop will focus on alternative and innovative approaches for reducing cost in future space science missions and the potential effect of these approaches on risk and performance . . . considering many factors. Over the past 20 to 25 years, we have all heard many "mantras" proposed as solutions to cutting the cost of space missions, both scientific and military. We all know that controlling mission requirements, simplifying and controlling interfaces, adopting multiyear procurement strategies, and using other management techniques should reduce overall mission costs. We all also know that nothing works—WE still end up with large, complex, and sophisticated satellite systems that, we believe, cost too much and take too long to develop. We have asked all of you to participate and to assess this problem, using the rich variety of your individual backgrounds and experience. We want to use this workshop as a team-building effort to focus on whether the costs of space science missions can be reduced by the application of various methodologies, or if we are, as an industry, doing things basically the right way and major cost reductions are not achievable. Instead of assembling to hear a series of papers on techniques of cost reduction, we decided to divide you, the invited participants, into four groups and present each group with the challenge applying these techniques and designing a low(er)-cost satellite system. During the opening session of the workshop, participants will be provided with background briefings on cost-reduction techniques and a road map of current space technologies. We hope you and your group will break away from the ordinary and do some creative thinking to solve the problems that continue to limit the number of missions because of high cost. For example, if your group identifies a solution that meets requirements with a system configuration that cuts costs but increases the risk of failure, can you convince management (the customer and Congress) that the elevated risk is acceptable? If your group works diligently, applying every identified technique and technology to meet specified requirements and to stay within cost limits, and you honestly believe this is impossible, we want to know how you reached this conclusion and what you believe the major factors are that prohibit cost reduction. The final report of this workshop will include the four system design solutions and associated findings, as reported by each systems engineer on Friday morning (October 18). Materials utilized to help reach the design solution will be included, at least by reference, in the document. We intend that the findings contained in the final report should provide insight into the process by which things really could be changed. We believe that people should resolve to work together to make changes outside of their current sphere, to ensure scientific return on investment, and to maintain reasonable costs for scientific space missions.

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--> TABLE 2-1 Major Points Identified by Working Groups Effect of policy mandates Inflexible policies, such as launch vehicle restrictions, may preclude mission savings.   National policies and political mandates that impose requirements for scientific missions should consider long-term scientific goals. National space science mission Rivalry within an agency can preclude cost savings by focusing on competition rather than priorities.   An articulated national policy and plan with near-and long-term goals can enhance public acceptance and congressional support. Clear definition of requirements Clear objectives and priorities with associated rationale are essential to reducing mission costs.   An integrated team approach that involves scientists, spacecraft designers, and operations personnel promotes realizable mission requirements and potential cost savings.   Defining the level of quality required, or how much "science" is enough, is fundamental to holding down the costs of missions and avoiding unnecessarily restrictive requirements.   The trade-off of science performance per total program dollar ought to be thoroughly addressed before a cost cap is established.   The rationale for various program and mission requirements ought to be published along with the requirements so that further decisions will be made in light of the underlying philosophy and rationale. Programmatics and acquisition strategies Affordable space science is achievable if the program manager has the authority over decisions, such as choice of launch vehicle, make or buy, contracting for services, and participating in joint programs with other agencies.   Stable, multiyear funding can contribute to program success by allowing a program to realize savings from end-to-end program planning.   Concurrent engineering can prevent problems and reduce costs through the maximum (and timely) exchange of technical, management, and cost information.   Cost trade-off studies at the program level should consider technology and hardware from the growing commercial space infrastructure.   Revisions in the Federal Acquisition Regulations to facilitate multiyear funding are highly desirable. Risk-informed decisions Risks ought to be stated clearly, and risk mitigation plans ought to be identified early.

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--> Risk-informed decisions Risk assessments should examine not only technical risks but also programmatic risks.   Innovation in technologies and design will only be realized in a climate of mutual trust with acknowledgment that space missions are inherently risky and that, despite all precautions, some losses will occur. Inclusion of advanced technology The cost savings achieved by launching a small spacecraft on a less expensive launch vehicle may be offset by the cost of technology miniaturization and packaging   Some important studies cannot be performed by small spacecraft because physical limits mandate the use of a large instrument.   Economies of scale may be achieved with large spacecraft.   Consideration ought to be given first to existing technology (worldwide) and then to new technology that will reduce cost, enable new or better capabilities, or facilitate scientific results.   Because ground control and data retrieval costs can exceed the costs of space hardware and launch, mission life-cycle costs could be reduced through on-board systems that increase satellite autonomy.   Utilizing standardized mechanical and electronic architectures at the interface level—as opposed to the spacecraft bus level—can reduce costs substantially without overly constraining design options. remaining two days assessing trade-offs and cost and risk constraints for the hypothetical missions. Mission scenarios—a Mars mission, titled "Mars 2001," and an Earth-observing mission, titled "Windstar"—were presented by individuals from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Each mission had a modest budget and was examined independently by two working groups. As the working groups discussed potential designs and strategies for the two missions, they considered the following questions: (1) What are the impediments to reducing the cost of space science missions? (2) What areas have the greatest potential for cost reduction (e.g., operations, management, procurement, etc.)? (3) What practices have proved effective in accomplishing stated objectives at lower costs? (4) Have smaller (i.e., lighter weight, less complex) spacecraft proved to be cost effective in meeting objectives? (5) What are the hidden costs associated with leaner programs that could have a long-term impact on performance? Stimulated by the discussions, the groups arrived at findings

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--> concerning potential sources of cost reduction. This report summarizes the overall findings from the workshop and includes the major conclusions of the working groups. The workshop steering committee would like to thank the invited participants for their thoughtful contributions (see Appendix B for the list of participants), especially Eberhardt Rechtin, Liam Sarsfield, Wiley Larson, Frank Redd, Donna Shirley, and Lester Thompson for their presentations and many helpful insights.