"There is a lack of clarity regarding what the
Certifying Official is actually addressing."
"Neither view was the intent of the original
certification plan. The intent was a partnership that leveraged the
commercial practices and experience of SpaceX and decades of Air Force
experience to meet the needs of the Air Force for confidence in the
capability and reliability of the SpaceX launch system. In particular,
it was never envisioned that the Air Force would drive changes in
design, processes, and organization to achieve certification. Neither
was it expected the Falcon 9 launch experience would suffice to
provide the needed confidence in Falcon 9 v1.1 for national security
payloads. Instead, it was expected there would be a manageable set of
issues requiring resolution, some requiring resolution at the top
"The Balance between the What and How
The daily focus of members of the NECT for the
past decade or so has been intensely on confidence in individual
successful deliveries to orbit. That requires assessment of specific
processes and hardware associated with the specific launch vehicle.
The traditional approach is prescriptive."
"This is the fourth edition of the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Cost Estimating Handbook (CEH),
updating the 2008 edition. The purpose of this handbook is to serve as a
guide for cost estimating at NASA."
Affordability, Cost Data
July 30, 2014
[Paper] [Presentation] Edgar Zapata, Carey McCleskey,
"An Analysis and Review of Measures and Relationships in Space
Transportation Affordability," 50th AIAA / SAE / ASEE Joint
Propulsion Conference, 2014.
"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 Budget, Analysis
Dr. Sally Ride, Dr. Ed Crawley, Jeff
Greason, and Bo Behmuk, "Scenario Affordability Analysis," Review of Human Space Flight Plans Committee, August 12,
“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
"Planetary Resources is establishing a new paradigm for
discovery and utilization that will bring the solar system into
humanity’s sphere of influence."
February 2, 2012
[Report] "NASA Space Technology Roadmaps and Priorities, Restoring
NASA’s Technological Edge and Paving the Way for a New Era in
Space," Steering Committee for NASA Technology Roadmaps, National Research Council, 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."
"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."
"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."
Shown below, the first Space-X Falcon 9 launch on June
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.
DATA: The Primer to NASA & Contractor Costs - Developing
a Robust, Adaptable NASA Human Space Flight Strategy Factoring
Budgetary and Technological Uncertainty, October 10, 2009,
This is a record of
successfully attaining orbit, not spacecraft
reliability once on orbit. The Bayesian
"Probability of Success" or
"p.o.s". is k(lv) +1/n(lv) +2 (see attached table), so
that the risk of a launcher without much of a track record is
accounted for and a launcher with, say, and 0 and 1 record, is not
given a zero probability of success. The raw data,
minus the graph/sorting, and the subtraction
effect/analysis, is credited to Ed Kyle and his Space launch Report and reliability statistics.
"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
"The Global Exploration Strategy, The Framework for Coordination" - Download report here or
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
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
Affordability, Cost Estimating, Construction of
Available inside the KSC
firewall only: NASA KSC "Estimating &
"Affordable and sustainable space
exploration remains an elusive goal. We explore the competitive
advantages of evolving towards independent operators for space
transportation in our economy. We consider the pros and cons of
evolving business organizations that operate and maintain space
transportation system assets independently from flight system
manufacturers and from host spaceports. The case is made that a more
competitive business climate for creating inherently operable,
dependable, and supportable space transportation systems can evolve
out of today’s traditional vertical business model—a model within
which the voice of the operator is often heard, but rarely acted
upon during crucial design commitments and critical design
processes. Thus new business models may be required, driven less by
hardware consumption and more by space system utilization."