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Space Transportation Systems Operations Simulations - Processes

The goal of this work is to:

  • Understand the fundamental nature of the effort and processes for preparing, launching and returning space transportation systems.

  • Understand space transportation systems characteristics and processing in relation to the goal of significantly more routine and affordable access to space.

The system includes:

  • The vehicle, it's design, technology and technical characteristics.

  • The organization, government and industry partners, and their processes, practices and business approaches.

  • The infrastructure, facilities and equipment on the ground.

If your interest is more the cost of these efforts, including all indirect support costs, see Operations Models - Costs.


The term "simulation" is used here in the sense of an abstraction, an "elaborate thought experiment", where mathematical formulas come together to create a predictive framework for the analysis and understanding of future, proposed systems. The term "simulation" is used here as distinct from model, as the work here focuses on processes, and these tools "run" or simulate time running. For example, a spaceship can be represented moving from process A in one facility to process B in another facility.


These operations simulations include:

A goal in this field of models and simulations is that models and simulations be fully integrated within an analysis framework. Another goal is that ground operations cost models and processing simulations one day be fully integrated as well with other design tools, including tools for defining research and technology portfolios, tools used in the development stages of design, tools used in recurring production/manufacturing, and even higher level strategic (economic or policy) models - all beyond just ground systems. The ez-NASA Model is an example of work in this direction.


Any model or simulation requires experience and data to give the model developer, user or analyst, the right basis, or foundation of knowledge. Since data about current systems can be used for insight independent of any model or simulation, data also represents a distinct area in this field of operations research.


Finally, models or simulations lend insight into our space industries "-ilities".


Also see:



Website Contact: Edgar Zapata, NASA Kennedy Space Center