Space Mission Cost Estimation

COURSE NO.: 6020


This course is designed to help engineers and managers produce and assess cost estimates for space systems. It assumes that attendees have a basic understanding of common cost analysis methodologies, but limited experience with space systems. Course training objectives include cost review planning; identification of needed key programmatic, technical and cost data; determination of typical cost ranges for components. Attendees will discuss various missions and their effects on system architecture, design and cost. They will learn to describe major components of typical space systems with a focus on functions, common design approaches and implications for cost. Typical cost-risk areas and schedule problems are discussed. Topics include small satellites, cost improvement in low-volume programs, use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components for space applications and challenges of cost estimating under evolutionary acquisition.



Course notes, slides, reference materials and a cost estimation spreadsheet are provided.



Space industry professionals interested in learning a structured process for estimating the cost of developing and operating a space system. Legal and regulatory professionals, decision makers and policy makers in industry, government, industry associations and end-user organizations.



A brief introduction to the importance of space systems. Challenges of developing accurate estimates of space system costs with an overview of different space systems. Guidelines for planning and conducting cost reviews. Data requirements with likely sources and common problem areas. Average costs and cost ranges for space vehicles, subsystems and components. Descriptions of common issues encountered in estimating cost of space programs. Summary descriptions of some common cost models available for space programs. A checklist for cost risk analysis and a bibliography of sources of additional information.




1. Introduction to Space Systems.

Historical summary. Basic definitions, concepts, fundamentals of space systems, and their effects on costs.

2. Orbits and Geometry.

Important geometric concepts, coverage. Understanding orbits and the effect of orbit selection on mission costs.

3. Space System Components.

Major components of typical space systems, focusing on functions and common design approaches and their implications for cost. Highlights of typical risk areas develop a sense of where cost and schedule problems have occurred in past programs.

4. Cost Reviews.

Guidelines for planning and conducting a typical review, data requirements and likely sources, and common problem areas.

5. Vehicle and Subsystem Costs.

Average costs and ranges for space vehicles, subsystems, and components to provide a source of readily accessible crosschecks and a resource for estimating the end points of risk distributions.

6. Issues.

Common issues encountered in estimating the cost of space programs.

7. A Representative Cost Model.

A cost model for a low-Earth-orbiting remote sensing mission is presented. Inputs to the model are discussed, and sensitivities of cost to changes in requirements are analyzed.

INSTRUCTOR: Richard Colarco

Richard Colarco has over 40 years of experience in space systems design, intelligence, and surveillance. He was a radar engineer on the Apollo lunar missions and he served for 22 years in the US Air Force as a navigator, electronic warfare officer, intelligence officer and space operator. And, he was a crewmember on B-52 and RC-135 aircraft. Mr. Colarco led an engineering division developing advanced electronic warfare systems for future aircraft and directed airborne reconnaissance operations in Korea. He also served as deputy commander of the Space Surveillance Network. After leaving the military, Mr. Colarco worked in development, modification and maintenance of many optical and radar ground-based and space-based space surveillance systems. He conducted two in-depth radar surveys of the space debris environment and was chief engineer on the development of a classified US Air Force satellite communications system. He is also an adjunct professor of physics and mathematics for several universities. Mr. Colarco holds a BS in physics and advanced degrees in operations research.



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