Standard Spacecraft Economic Analysis

Vol. 2, Final Report of Findings and Conclusions

by Elwyn Harris, Joseph P. Large


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Compares program costs for various standardized spacecraft for Air Force Space Test Program missions to be flown on the space shuttle during 1980-1990. During the first phase of the study, an evaluation was made of a variety of procurement mixes composed of two NASA spacecraft designs (the AEM and MMS) and a new Air Force standard spacecraft (the STPSS). During the second phase, additional procurement options were examined using an upgraded version of the NASA-designed AEM (designated as the L-AEM). Sensitivity testing showed that: (1) Program cost does not provide a basis for selection among the first three designs. (2) The use of the L-AEM minimizes the Air Force Space Test Program cost; it can be used with the AEM and/or MMS. (3) Increasing maximum payloads per launch from six to 13 would lower program costs by 30 percent. (4) Launch costs, allocated by several formulas, did not affect the procurement option choice.

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