Upgrading the Space Shuttle

Committee on Space Shuttle Upgrades

Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board

Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1999



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--> Upgrading the Space Shuttle Committee on Space Shuttle Upgrades Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1999

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--> NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract No. NASW-4938 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project International Standard Book Number 0-309-06382-5 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 99-60001 Available in limited supply from: Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, HA 292, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20418. (202) 334-2855 Additional copies available for sale from: National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Box 285, Washington, DC 20055. 1-800-624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington Metropolitan area). http://www.nap.edu Copyright 1999 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Cover Illustration: Launch of Space Shuttle Columbia for the STS-83 Mission, April 4, 1997. Printed in the United States of America.

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--> COMMITTEE ON SPACE SHUTTLE UPGRADES BRYAN O'CONNOR (chair), Aerospace Safety Consultant, Alexandria, Virginia STEPHEN BOOK, The Aerospace Corporation, Los Angeles, California BENJAMIN COSGROVE, The Boeing Company (retired), Seattle, Washington DONALD EMERO, Boeing Reusable Space Systems (retired), Fountain Valley, California B. JOHN GARRICK, PLG (retired), St. George, Utah RICHARD HARPER, IBM Research, Raleigh, North Carolina* NANCY LEVESON, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge DONALD MARICLE, Maricle Consulting, Glastonbury, Connecticut ROBERT SACKHEIM, TRW, Redondo Beach, California GEORGE SUTTON, ANSER, Arlington, Virginia RICHARD WEISS, Richard R. Weiss Consultant Services, Palmdale, California Staff PAUL SHAWCROSS, Study Director GEORGE M. LEVIN, Director CHRIS JONES, Senior Project Assistant *   Until August 7, 1998, Dr. Harper worked at Stratus Computer, Marlboro, Massachusetts.

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--> AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD WILLIAM W. HOOVER (chair), U.S. Air Force (retired), Williamsburg, Virginia A. DWIGHT ABBOTT, The Aerospace Corporation, Los Angeles, California RUZENA BAJSCY, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia AARON COHEN, Texas A&M University, College Station RAYMOND S. COLLADAY, Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, Colorado DONALD C. FRASER, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts JOSEPH FULLER, JR., Futron Corporation, Bethesda, Maryland ROBERT C. GOETZ, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, Palmdale, California RICHARD GOLASZEWSKI, GRA, Inc., Jenkintown, Pennsylvania JAMES M. GUYETTE, Rolls-Royce North American, Reston, Virginia FREDERICK HAUCK, AXA Space, Bethesda, Maryland BENJAMIN HUBERMAN, Huberman Consulting Group, Washington, D.C. JOHN K. LAUBER, Airbus Service Company, Miami Springs, Florida DAVA J. NEWMAN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge JAMES G. O'CONNOR, Pratt & Whitney (retired), Coventry, Connecticut GEORGE SPRINGER, Stanford University, Stanford, California KATHRYN C. THORNTON, University of Virginia, Charlottesville DIANNE S. WILEY, Northrop Grumman, Pico Rivera, California RAY A. WILLIAMSON, George Washington University, Washington, D.C. Staff GEORGE M. LEVIN, Director

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--> Preface The space shuttle is a unique national resource. One of only two operating vehicles that carries humans into space, the space shuttle functions as a scientific laboratory and as a base for construction, repair, and salvage missions in low Earth orbit. It is also a heavy-lift launch vehicle (able to deliver more than 18,000 kg of payload to low Earth orbit) and the only current means of returning large payloads to Earth. Designed in the 1970s, the shuttle has frequently been upgraded to improve safety, cut operational costs, and add capability. Additional upgrades have been proposed—and some are under way—to combat obsolescence, further reduce operational costs, improve safety, and increase the ability of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to support the space station and other missions. In May 1998, NASA asked the National Research Council (NRC) to examine the agency's plans for further upgrades to the space shuttle system. The NRC was asked to assess NASA's method for evaluating and selecting upgrades and to conduct a top-level technical assessment of proposed upgrades. The complete statement of task is reprinted in Appendix A. In June 1998, the NRC, under the auspices of the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, formed the Committee on Space Shuttle Upgrades to carry out this task. (Short biographies of the committee members appear in Appendix B.) In July, the committee met with shuttle program managers and received briefings on current and proposed upgrades to the space shuttle and the process for selecting upgrades for implementation. Additional teleconferences and site visits were held in August and September to gather more detailed information

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--> about individual upgrades, the prioritization process, and the upgrades program as a whole. The committee would like to thank the many enthusiastic and responsive individuals who briefed or otherwise interacted with the committee during this process. We would also like to thank Hugo Delgado, of NASA's Office of Space Flight, for acting as liaison between NASA and the committee. This report is the committee's response to the Statement of Task. The report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review was to provide candid and critical comments to assist the authors and the NRC in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Mel Eisman, RAND Corporation Alexander H. Flax, Institute for Defense Analysis (retired) George J. Gleghorn, TRW Space and Technology Group (retired) Robert D. Harris, Aerojet Corporation Jack L. Kerrebrock, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Richard Kohrs, Kistler Aerospace Horace Lamberth, Aerospace Consultant John M. Logsdon III, Space Policy Institute Simon Ostrach, Case Western Reserve University While the individuals listed above provided constructive comments and suggestions, responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. The committee was not asked to—and does not—discuss the larger issue of whether the shuttle should be upgraded. This report is limited to a review of NASA's approach to selecting and prioritizing upgrades and a top-level technical assessment of several representative proposed upgrades. The decision to implement many of the major proposed shuttle upgrades must await a high-level national policy decision on when the shuttle should be phased out in favor of some other launch vehicle (or vehicles). Although it may be tempting to delay making this decision until it becomes perfectly clear when a shuttle replacement will be available, a timely decision is crucial for NASA to act efficiently either by phasing out its shuttle upgrade program or by making the major investments necessary for the shuttle to carry out its long-term mission reliably and efficiently. BRYAN O'CONNOR, CHAIR COMMITTEE ON SPACE SHUTTLE UPGRADES

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--> Contents     Executive Summary   1 1   Background   9     References   12 2   Shuttle Upgrades Program   14     Organization   14     Budget   14     Goals   16     Upgrade Phases   17     Life Cycle of an Upgrade   18     References   20 3   Choosing Upgrades   21     Operating in an Uncertain Policy Environment   21     Refining Program Goals   24     Prioritizing and Selecting Upgrades   25     Improving Candidate Upgrades   33     References   37

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--> 4  Assessments Of Proposed Upgrades 38   Phase II Upgrades 38   Phase III Upgrades 41   Phase IV Upgrades 51   Reference 55  Appendixes   A Statement Of Task 59   B Biographical Sketches Of Committee Members 60   C Shuttle Upgrades Presented To The Committee 64   D List Of Recommendations 66  Acronyms 71

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--> Tables, Figures, and Boxes Tables ES-1  Upgrade Phases  2 3-1  Sample Goals for the Upgrade Program  25 3-2  Space Flight Operations Contract  32 4-1  Upgrades Discussed in Chapter 4  39 4-2  Required Inventory of LFBBs  54 Figures ES-1  Location of assessed upgrades  5 2-1  Space Shuttle Upgrades Program in the NASA hierarchy  15 2-2  Changes in the shuttle budgets over time  16 3-1  Risk in estimating lines of code  31 4-1  Historical software coding rates  40 4-2  Representative LFBB concepts  52 Boxes 2-1  Members of the Space Shuttle Upgrades Program Requirements Control Board  19 3-1  Eliciting expert opinions  29

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