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Space Transportation Systems "-ilities"

Affordability, Reliability, Safety, Maintainability, Operability, Complexity, Sustainability & Responsiveness


2004 & Prior>


July 27, 2012

Affordability, Cost Data

"On May 2, 2007, the Air Force waived the requirement for Boeing to provide certified cost or pricing data for a significant amount of hardware associated with the production contract. The hardware is still being used, and the waiver, while officials believe it afforded DOD a reduced price, has limited government insight into cost or pricing data on a large lot of launch vehicle hardware, including engines, purchased at that time. The lack of certified cost or pricing data for this hardware has contributed to years of Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) reports that consistently find ULA proposals inadequate for government evaluation and contract negotiation."

July 24, 2012

Affordability, NASA Budgets, Analysis

  • Dr. Sally Ride, Dr. Ed Crawley, Jeff Greason, and Bo Behmuk, "Scenario Affordability Analysis (.pdf)," Review of Human Space Flight Plans Committee, August 12, 2009

“I think it’s fair to say that our review group drew the short straw, and I drew the shortest by having to actually do this presentation”. -Sally Ride, 2009

May 25, 2012

Competition, Affordability


May 18, 2012

Competition, Affordability

April 3, 2012

Demand, Competition

"Planetary Resources is establishing a new paradigm for resource discovery and utilization that will bring the solar system into humanity’s sphere of influence." -Planetary Resources website

February 2, 2012


Affordability, Technology

  • [Paper .pdf] Steering Committee for NASA Technology Roadmaps, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, National Research Council, "NASA Space Technology Roadmaps and Priorities, Restoring NASA’s Technological Edge and Paving the Way for a New Era in Space," 2012

"Additional Comments: The development timeline for launch propulsion technologies will be critically dependent on the overall strategy and architecture chosen for exploration and the funding available. Of particular relevance is launch economics, particularly with regards to the launch rate and the mass of missions being launched. Additionally, there are technologies included in other roadmaps, especially TA02 (In-Space Propulsion) and TA04 (Robotics, Tele-Robotics, and Autonomous Systems) that open the trade space to other architecture options, such as fuel depots requiring on-orbit propellant transfer technologies. For example, one may be able to disaggregate some large space missions to be launched by larger numbers of smaller, lower cost launch vehicles. These technologies may allow more dramatic reductions in launch costs than specific launch technologies themselves."

August 10, 2011

Above - from the paper - "Figure 8.0 Historic rocket engine cost breakdown"


August 3, 2011

Affordability, Cost Estimating

"This paper describes a general approach for creating architectural concepts that are highly efficient, operable, and supportable, in turn achieving affordable, repeatable, and sustainable space transportation. The paper focuses on the following: (1) vehicle architectural concept (including important strategies for greater reusability), (2) vehicle element propulsion system packaging, including integrated main and auxiliary propulsion systems, (3) vehicle element functional integration, (4) ground element functional integration, (5) simplified and automated electrical power and avionics integration, and (6) ground and flight testing before production commitments. We also provide four essential technologies that enable the high-payoff design approach: (a) parallel-tank propellant storage, such as concentric-nested tanks, for more efficient space vehicle design and operation, (b) high-thrust, LO2-rich, LO2-cooled first-stage earth-to-orbit main engine, (c) nontoxic, day-of-launch-loaded propellants for upper stages and in-space propulsion, and (d) electric controls for propulsion."

Above - from the paper - "Figure 1. Closed-compartment entry for personnel requiring design and operations effort, resulting lost time and productivity."


December 8, 2010

Competition, Affordability


October 29, 2010

Affordability, Cost Estimating

"As shown in Figure 5.1, the Project Budget showed that peak funding would occur in the same year as the Project PDR and that Project costs would go down by 16% in FY 2009 and 58% in FY 2011. Historically, the cost profiles of projects continue to increase after PDR. Based on the technical status of the Project, the prior deferral of spacecraft development, and the complexity of the integration and testing phase, this was a highly suspect budget profile."


October 10, 2010


July 26, 2010

Affordability, Learning

July 20, 2010

June 4, 2010


May 26, 2010

  • A launch abort system (LAS) can address many shortcomings in the reliability of launch vehicle systems by rapidly removing a crew from harms way. It is worth emphasizing that a launch abort system does not address inherent hardware reliability, it's quality. From an operational standpoint a launch abort system adds complexity and reduces operability. There is more work to prepare for launch, rather than less, all else being equal. A launch abort system reacts to the reliability (or lack thereof) of the launch vehicle hardware.

A launch abort systems primary purpose is to improve the metric of loss of crew, or simply put - to improve crew safety during a portion of the mission, the climb to orbit. These video's show alternate launch abort system designs recently tested by NASA.

Launch Abort System 1 - Video

See Launch Abort System 2 - Video


Affordability, Cost Estimating

"The authors provide Historical Evaluation of Cost and Schedule Estimating Performance During NASA's Tenure as an Agency - Following which they introduce an optimum Hybrid model for more accurately calculating Cost and Schedule estimates in NASA's Complex systems engineering environment."


  • "The Global Exploration Strategy, The Framework for Coordination" - Download report here or here.

"Sustainable space exploration is a challenge that no one nation can do on its own. This is why fourteen space agencies have developed The Global Exploration Strategy: The Framework for Coordination, which presents a vision for robotic and human space exploration, focusing on destinations within the solar system where we may one day live and work. It elaborates an action plan to share the strategies and efforts of individual nations so that all can achieve their exploration goals more effectively and safely."


Affordability, Cost Estimating, Construction of Facilities


As any improvement in the safety, reliability or affordability of access to space and beyond is a generational endeavor...



Also see- Stewart Money, "Competition and EELV: Challenges and Opportunities in New Launch Vehicle Acquisition – Part 1,” Future In-Space Operations forum , May 9, 2012


2004 & Prior>


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Website Contact: Edgar Zapata, NASA Kennedy Space Center